Free screening eye exams to benefit working and service dogs

Photo courtesy ACVO

Early detection, prevention, and delayed progression of eye abnormalities in dogs are at the core of the upcoming National Service Animal Eye Exam.

Led by diplomates from the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) every May, the Epicur Pharma-sponsored program benefits formally trained working animals. This includes those providing the following services: guide, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy, and those assisting people with disabilities other than blindness.

“This event allows us to engage with a subset of the population that we might otherwise minimally have the opportunity to interact with, to offer thanks for their service, and to offer proactive care,”says Elizabeth Lutz, DVM, DACVO, ACVO Membership, Promotion, & Outreach Committee chairperson,. “Although most of the working animals that we screen have normal, healthy eye exams, we have the ability to identify and resolve minor issues quickly, and on rare occasion, identify and treat issues that could result in blindness and pain.”

The non-painful eye exam takes around 10 to 25 minutes and will not require sedation. The exam aims to determine ocular problems early, which may include sight-threatening conditions, such as retinal disease, cataracts, or glaucoma.

Board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists led eye examinations at the 2023 National Service Animal Eye Exam Event. Photo courtesy ACVO.

“These screenings offer a different and more specialized level of eye examination than are possible during a primary care or wellness exam, and we hope that every working animal will take advantage of this opportunity with a board-certified ophthalmologist each year,” adds Dr. Lutz.

The event will be participated by around 170 cities across the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, the UK, and Puerto Rico. Registration runs until April 30.

For more information, visit the ACVO National Service Animal Eye Exam website.