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Ophthalmology

Canine
Yellow lab in a field

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes for irreversible blindness and pain in dogs. Primary glaucoma is typically a disease that affects both eyes and its consequences are always heartbreaking. Among all the pure breed dogs, Cocker spaniels are one of the most commonly affected breeds where approximately 5% have glaucoma. 

Primary glaucoma is a multifactorial disease, where breed, gender, age and environmental factors all play a role in its development.

In order to understand the genetics behind primary glaucoma we will compare the genome of normal unaffected Cocker spaniels with primary glaucoma affected Cocker spaniels.

Once we identify the genetic mutation associated with this devastating disease, we will be able to develop genetic tests to recognize genetic carriers and to work on a genetic treatment for primary glaucoma.

Goals: The purpose of this study is to determine the genes/loci mutations that predispose Cocker spaniels to primary glaucoma (specifically, primary angle closure glaucoma-PACG). Once the genetic markers have been identified, we will be able to develop a genetic test to identify genetic carriers.

Eligibility: Normal, unaffected Cocker spaniels must be age 8 or older and have normal intraocular pressures. Affected Cocker spaniels must be age 8 or older with primary glaucoma confirmed by gonioscopy or histopathology to confirm the presence of an angle closure.

Compensation: All eligible dogs brought to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) for an appointment who agrees to participate will have a free, thorough, ophthalmic (eye) examination by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Owner Responsibilities:  We will ask you to bring your dog to the CUHA for a single visit for an ophthalmic exam and to draw a small amount of blood. We can also coordinate receiving results from other veterinary ophthalmologists around the country. You will be responsible for any costs unrelated to the study.

Principal Investigator: Filipe Espinheira, LMV, DACVO

Contact/Schedule an Appointment: Please contact the CUHA ophthalmology service at 607.253.3060 to schedule an appointment.

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Agricultural Animal
Horses

Meet Our Specialists

The Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Nemo Farm Animal Hospital provides scheduled and emergency care for farm animals with eye and vision problems. Our entire staff consists of board-certified ophthalmologists and resident ophthalmologists-in-training who collaborate with other veterinarians and ophthalmologists around the world to provide comprehensive eye care to animals. 

We offer the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities using state-of-art instrumentation and we utilize advanced surgical techniques. We work closely with other services in the hospital, particularly the Internal Medicine Service, to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of the full spectrum of veterinary ophthalmic disorders and any other disorders the patient may have.

Advanced Techniques

Diagnostic Services

  • Slit lamp biomicroscopy
  • Direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy
  • Tonometry
  • Electroretinography
  • Ocular ultrasonography (standard ocular and high resolution anterior segment scans)
  • In vivo corneal confocal microscopy
  • CT and MRI scans
  • Culture, biopsy, routine lab testing plus many advanced diagnostic modalities

Surgical Services

  • Orbital and adnexal surgery
  • Squamous cell carcinoma treatments, including strontium 90 radiation treatment
  • Corneal therapeutic and reconstructive procedures, keratotomies, grafts, and transpositions
  • Cataract removal by phacoemulsification 
  • Glaucoma management
  • Diode laser treatment for iris/uveal/corpora nigra cyst ablation

What to Expect During Your Appointment

Your scheduled visit to the Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Nemo Farm Animal Hospital begins when you pull up to the circular driveway in front of the large animal hospital. Please park your vehicle in the driveway, come into the reception area and check in at the front desk. After a small amount of paperwork, a technician or student will help you unload and walk your animal to its assigned stall. 

Often times, you may leave your vehicle and trailer right in the driveway but, if the lot is full, the receptionist will provide you with a parking pass and directions to nearby longer-term parking where overnight parking for trucks and trailers is also available.

After your vehicle is parked, a technician and student will work together to conduct an examination of your animal and ask you questions about the animal's past medical, surgical, travel, vaccination and worming history and current health. In the course of this examination, several tests are usually performed, including measurements of tear function and eye pressure and staining the eye with one or more ocular surface stains. Sometimes, animals who do not cooperate during the exam need to be sedated. If this is the case, a resident or ophthalmologist will prescribe sedation.

Next, the student will administer eye drops to dilate the pupil; just as in your own eyes these drops take 30 minutes or more to take effect. During that time, the student will leave to report their findings to a resident or faculty member, to analyze the results of the routine tests and to refine plans to further diagnose and treat your animal's eye condition. 

The student will return to complete the dilated portion of the examination. The ophthalmologist will have joined you by this time and will perform a second, comprehensive examination that will include a discussion with the students and residents during or after the exam; the clinician will also discuss all of the findings with you. Additional students and residents may be present and observing during this portion of the examination. This evaluation will take 1-2 hours. We appreciate your patience and understanding in allowing our veterinarians-in-training (perhaps your future veterinarian!) to interact with you and your pet.

Working together with you, a plan for further diagnosis and treatment of your animal will be developed. Patients that require surgery or advanced tests will often be admitted to the hospital at the conclusion of their initial appointment. (Ppatients admitted for surgical procedures often need to remain hospitalized for several days or longer). Patients with conditions that do not require hospitalization will be discharged with detailed written instructions and a summary of the exam findings. A copy will be faxed to your veterinarian.

Related Info

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
A non-profit organization that certifies veterinarians in ophthalmology and provides information about veterinary eye disorders.

Equine
Horse

Meet Our Specialists

The Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals provides scheduled and emergency care for horses with eye and vision problems. Our entire staff consists of board-certified ophthalmologists and resident ophthalmologists-in-training who collaborate with other veterinarians and ophthalmologists around the world to provide comprehensive eye care to horses. We offer the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities using state-of-art instrumentation and we utilize advanced surgical techniques. We work closely with all other services in the hospital, particularly with the Internal Medicine Service, to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of the full spectrum of veterinary ophthalmic disorders and any other disorders your patient may have.

Advanced Techniques

Diagnostic Services

  • Slit lamp biomicroscopy
  • Direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy
  • Tonometry
  • Electroretinography
  • Ocular ultrasonography (standard ocular and high resolution anterior segment scans)
  • In vivo corneal confocal microscopy
  • CT and MRI scans
  • Culture, biopsy, routine lab testing plus many advanced diagnostic modalities

Surgical Services

  • Orbital and adnexal surgery
  • Squamous cell carcinoma treatments, including strontium 90 radiation treatment
  • Corneal therapeutic and reconstructive procedures, keratotomies, grafts, and transpositions
  • Cataract removal by phacoemulsification 
  • Glaucoma management
  • Diode laser treatment for iris/uveal/corpa nigra cyst ablation

What to Expect During Your Appointment

Your scheduled visit to the Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals begins when you pull up to the circular driveway in front of the large animal hospital. Please park your vehicle in the driveway, come into the reception area and check in at the front desk. After a small amount of paperwork, a technician or student will help you unload and walk your horse to its assigned stall. 

Ophthalmology visitOften times, you may leave your vehicle and trailer right in the driveway but, if the lot is full, the receptionist will provide you with a parking pass and directions to nearby longer-term parking where overnight parking for trucks and trailers is also available.

After your vehicle is parked, a technician and student will work together to conduct an examination of your horse and ask you questions about the horse's past medical, surgical, travel, vaccination and worming history and current health. In the course of this examination, several tests are usually performed, including measurements of tear function and eye pressure and staining the eye with one or more ocular surface stains. Sometimes, animals who do not cooperate during the exam need to be sedated. If this is the case, a resident or ophthalmologist will prescribe sedation.

Next, the student will administer eye drops to dilate the pupil; just as in your own eyes these drops take 30 minutes or more to take effect. During that time, the student will leave to report their findings to a resident or faculty member, to analyze the results of the routine tests and to refine plans to further diagnose and treat your horse's eye condition. 

The student will return to complete the dilated portion of the examination. The ophthalmologist will have joined you by this time and will perform a second, comprehensive examination that will include a discussion with the students and residents during or after the exam; the clinician will also discuss all of the findings with you. Additional students and residents may be present and observing during this portion of the examination. This evaluation will take 1-2 hours. We appreciate your patience and understanding in allowing our veterinarians-in-training (perhaps your future veterinarian!) to interact with you and your pet.

Working together with you, a plan for further diagnosis and treatment of your horse will be developed. Patients that require surgery or advanced tests will often be admitted to the hospital at the conclusion of their initial appointment (patients admitted for surgical procedures often need to remain hospitalized for several days or longer). Patients with conditions that do not require hospitalization will be discharged with detailed written instructions and a summary of the exam findings. A copy will be faxed to your veterinarian.

OPHTHALMIC EMERGENCIES:
All daytime and after-hour ophthalmic emergencies are admitted and managed directly by the faculty and resident clinicians of the Ophthalmology Service. 

Related links

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
A non-profit organization that certifies veterinarians in ophthalmology and provides information about veterinary eye disorders.

Canine, Feline, Exotics/Wildlife
Opthamology

Meet Our Specialists

Ophthamology ExamThe Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals provides scheduled and emergency care for companion animals with eye and vision problems. Our staff include the board-certified ophthalmologists and residents who collaborate with other veterinarians across the Northeast to provide comprehensive eye care.

Our experienced veterinarians offer the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques using a state-of-the-instrumentation. We offer advanced diagnostics and we utilize advanced surgical techniques. We work collaboratively with other services in the hospital to provide a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of the full spectrum of veterinary ophthalmic disorders.
 

Advanced Techniques

  • Electroretinography
  • Ocular ultrasonography (standard ocular and high resolution anterior segment scans)
  • In vivo corneal confocal microscopy
  • CT and MRI scans

Surgical Services

  • Orbital and adnexal surgery
  • Corneal therapeutic and reconstructive procedures, keratotomies, grafts, and transpositions
  • Cataract removal by phacoemulsification with intraocular lens implantation
  • Glaucoma management
  • Diode laser retinopexy and uveal neoplasia and cyst ablation

What to Expect During Your Appointment

Optho examYour scheduled visit to the Ophthalmology Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals begins with check in at the reception desk.  Following a small amount of paperwork, you will be greeted in the waiting room by one or two students currently in their ophthalmology rotation and brought to a private examination room.

The students will conduct an examination of your pet and ask you questions about your animal's history and current health. In the course of this examination, several tests are usually performed including measurements of tear function and eye pressure. This initial evaluation will take 30-45 minutes. We appreciate your patience and understanding in allowing these future veterinarians to interact with you and your pet.

The student will then administer dilating eye drops, which take 15 to 20 minutes to take effect. During that time, the student will then leave to consult with a resident or faculty member to analyze the results of the routine tests and refine plans to further diagnose and treat your pet's eye conditions.

The student will return to complete the dilated portion of the examination. Then an ophthalmologist will perform a second comprehensive examination and discuss the findings with you. Together, you will develop a plan for further diagnosis and treatment. Most patients that require surgery or advanced tests such as CT or MRI will be admitted to the hospital from their initial appointment.

Optho examOPHTHALMIC EMERGENCIES:
All daytime and after-hour ophthalmic emergencies are admitted and managed directly by the faculty and resident clinicians of the Ophthalmology Service.

Ophthalmology: Medical Conditions

OphthamologyCommon Ophthalmic Conditions

Corneal ulcers

The surface of the eye is commonly injured and usually heals spontaneously without treatment or predictably with supportive treatments. But these injuries may result in ulceration of the cornea, which may become infected by bacteria or become deep enough to threaten loss of the vision and the eye. Diagnosis is made by complete ophthalmic examination. Treatment involves topical antibiotic therapy supported by surgical intervention to stabilize deep ulcers or wounds. With early aggressive treatment, outlook for healing is generally good.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is increased pressure within the eye leading to permanent vision impairment. It is an inherited condition in many breeds of dogs and some cat breeds. It also  occurs secondary to other ocular disorders such as inflammation, tumors, trauma in all species. 
The outlook for preserving vision in eyes with inherited glaucoma is guarded, with early diagnosis and treatment yielding the best results. Diagnosis is made by tonometry - a measurement of intraocular pressure. Management is both medical, using topical pressure control drugs made for people, and surgical, to reduce eye pressure and achieve comfort.

Cataracts 

Cataracts develop as common inherited defects in dogs and some other species. Most diabetic dogs develop secondary blinding cataracts. There are no proven or approved medical treatments to prevent, retard, or reverse cataract development, but cataract surgery is performed successfully on animals. Dogs are the most common recipients and most get intraocular lens implants like people do, returning durable useful vision.

Cataract Surgery for Dogs

By definition a cataract is any focal or diffuse opacity of the normally transparent lens. Cataracts are commonly caused by inherited defects of the lens, metabolic disorders (most commonly diabetes mellitus), and traumatic injuries. Many, but not all cataracts, progress in one or both eyes to cause vision impairment and blindness. Pets with cataracts can be evaluated for cataract surgery and have the surgery performed at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Appointments for cataract surgery evaluations are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday mornings. Prior to this appointment, we recommend that your dog have a complete physical examination by your veterinarian and two blood tests (a complete blood count and chemistry panel) and a urinalysis performed within one month before the appointment. The results of these should be brought with you to the appointment. After a complete eye examination is performed on your pet, the procedures involved in cataract surgery will be discussed with you. In most instances, dogs can be admitted from this appointment for surgery that same week. Most dogs are hospitalized for three to four days. Priorto the surgery, two additional tests will be performed: electroretinography (ERG) and an ultrasound examination. The ERG assesses the function of the retina, the light-sensitive layer of the eye; the ultrasound examination looks for retinal detachment. If retinal function is poor by ERG determination or if the retina is detached, surgery may not be performed.

Cataract surgery is performed under general anesthesia, usually on both eyes at the same time. An intraocular lens (IOL) is usually inserted after the cataract has been removed. The success rate of uncomplicated cataract surgery is 85 to 90%. Postoperative concerns include excessive postoperative inflammation, bleeding, glaucoma (increased eye pressure), and retinal detachment. Note that these complications are also common in eyes with blinding cataracts that are not operated on!

Because dogs’ eyes develop more serious inflammation than human eyes after cataract surgery, they must receive treatments (a combination of pills, eye drops, and ointments) several times daily for four to six weeks after this surgery. They also must be rechecked by a veterinary ophthalmologist two or three times during this period. Both postoperative treatments and follow-up are critical to achieve the best results!

The cost of uncomplicated cataract surgery is approximately $3,500, inclusive of the preliminary examination, ERG and ultrasound examinations, hospitalization, initial medications, surgery, anesthesia, and operating room use. The professional fee for the first three postoperative rechecks within 90 days is included in the surgery fee; medication refills are not included.

Note: If dogs are receiving cortisone drugs (e.g., prednisone, dexamethasone) for skin or other conditions, or arthritis drugs (e.g., Deramaxx ®, Rimadyl ®, Zubrin ®, Aspirin), these must be stopped at least 10 days prior to the appointment.

To schedule a consultation for your pet with cataracts with the Ophthalmology Service, please call the Companion Animal Hospital at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University at (607) 253-3060. New York State Law requires a valid rabies certificate be presented upon arrival to our hospital. Failure to do so may result in your pet not being evaluated.

Uveitis

This inflammation within the eye is commonly associated with ocular and systemic infections, immune-mediated and metabolic disorders, and is a frequent cause of temporary and permanent vision loss. Treatment and prognosis depend upon stage at diagnosis, causes, and control of associated medical conditions. Diagnosis is based upon complete ophthalmic examination and treatments include topical and systemic anti-inflammatory medications.

Retinal degeneration

Retinal degeneration is common in dogs and some other species. It is often an inherited defect but also can result from exposure to certain drugs or chemicals. In dogs, it may occur suddenly for unknown reasons. It  is diagnosed  by complete ophthalmic examination . Few retinal degenerations are treatable; most eventually result is severe vision impairment and blindness. 

Related Info

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologist 
A non-profit organization that certifies veterinarians in ophthalmology and provides information about veterinary eye disorders.

Equine

All Ruffian Services

CRES is well staffed with experienced doctors and specialists in ophthalmology to handle both emergency and chronic ophthalmological conditions. CRES clinicians head up the service through the internal medicine department and manage the ophthalmic patients. Dr. Noelle La Croix, a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology works on advanced cases and is available for ophthalmic surgery including corneal surgery, cyst laser ablation, and cyclosporine implant placement at the hospital. Specialists in equine ophthalmology at Cornell University, Ithaca are also available for consultation on cases.  

CRES is well equipped to perform complete ophthalmological examinations including corneal cytology and culture, corneal debridement, subpalpebral lavage (SPL) system placement and maintenance, intraocular pressure measurement and surgical procedures.  

Conditions routinely managed at CRES include:

  • Corneal ulceration (ulcerative keratitis; melting ulcer) - intensive medical management as well as advanced surgical repair
  • Non-healing ulcers - medical management, diamond burr keratectomy, contact lens placement
  • Trauma - eyelid laceration, corneal laceration, blunt globe trauma
  • Equine recurrent uveitis (Moon Blindness) - medical management and cyclosporine implant placement
  • Glaucoma - medical management, intraocular laser ablation
  • Corpora nigra cyst - laser ablation
  • Immune-mediated keratitis (IMMK) and eosinophilic keratitis (EK) - both medical and surgical treatments
  • Periocular neoplasm - surgical debulking/excision, cisplatin, electrochemotherapy

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Position ID: 
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Assistant Professor - Ophthalmology
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