Veterinary Ophthalmology is a specialization of veterinary medicine that addresses eye health, eye disease, and vision in animals. A veterinary ophthalmologist is involved in all phases of animal eye care, working with general practice veterinarians and other veterinary specialists to help diagnose and treat animal eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, vision loss, eye infections, eye cancers, corneal ulcers, dry eye problems, eyelid abnormalities, diseases of the retina, and genetic eye problems. Treatment options and recommendations are made to help return your pet’s health and improve their quality of life.
Veterinary Ophthalmology Services is a referral specialty practice. We work intimately with local veterinarians and serve as a resource for your veterinarian. Most routine eye problems can be diagnosed and treated successfully at your veterinarian’s office. We prefer that your pet be evaluated by his or her veterinarian for eye problems that may require our services and encourage referral when appropriate. However, a referral is not mandatory. Important historical information from your veterinarian is usually helpful in determining response to previous therapy and to guide our future treatment options. On some occasions, referral may not be necessary, as in eye screening examinations and ECR (Eye Certification Registry) exams.
1. All medications and instructions that are currently being used.
2. Contact information for your regular veterinarian.
3. Payment method. (Payment is expected in full upon completion of the exam.)
4. Although not required, it is helpful to have a referral form sent over from your regular veterinarian. It should include recent blood work, if available, and information about chronic conditions.
This varies based on your pet’s condition. We will provide you with a written estimate for any procedure done outside of a standard ophthalmic examination before any work is performed. Please feel free to contact our office with specific questions.
We accept all major credit providers, CareCredit, personal checks, and cash. Payment is due in full upon completion of the exam.
We try our best to see all of our appointments at the time scheduled, but like any doctor’s office, some patients may take longer than anticipated. We are also open for emergency cases throughout the day, and while we give scheduled clients top priority, some of these animals may need to be seen immediately.
To be safe, please set aside an hour to an hour and a half for initial exams and 30 minutes to an hour for follow up appointments. We have complimentary Wi-Fi available while you wait.
Yes, all patients need to be attended by their owners or a designated guardian. Unfortunately, we are not able to dayboard pets needing exams because our limited kennel space is reserved for patients undergoing surgery or diagnostic testing. If there is no way for you or someone else to bring your pet in for your appointment, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to make special arrangements.
Unfortunately, our doctors are not able to perform farm calls under any circumstances. Equine and other large animal patients must be seen at a designated large animal clinic. Currently, our ophthalmologists see horses at Equine Performax Veterinary Services at the Jaeckle Centre in Thompsons Station, Tennessee Equine Hospital in Thompsons Station, and Franklin Equine Services in Franklin by special arrangement with our office.
There are three common diagnostic tests our ophthalmologists perform in the exam room, none of which are painful:
Schirmer Tear Test: This test measures the amount of tears your pet’s eye is producing. A small strip of paper is placed beneath the eyelid, slightly irritating the eye and absorbing the tears that are generated in response. After a minute, we see how much of the paper strip becomes wet, measured in millimeters. A healthy animal should produce 15-25mm per minute.
Intraocular Pressure Check (Tonometry): Our ophthalmologists can use several different tonometry devices to measure the pressure of the fluid inside your pet’s eye. This test is performed by lightly touching the surface of the eye with the tip of the instrument. A reading is produced in mmHg. Healthy animal eyes generally have a pressure between 15-25mmHg.
Fluorescein stain: This test helps our ophthalmologists visualize ulcerations on the surface of the eye. A fluorescent green stain is put on the eye and then washed out. The stain lingers in bright green on any scratches, punctures, or other abnormalities so they can be easily seen with magnification.
We do offer discounts to registered rescue groups who provide a yearly 501c3 as proof of their non-profit status. We also provide discounted eye examinations (not including additional procedures and medications) for registered service animals throughout the year. We offer free examinations only to service animals during the month of May for those who register through the ACVO. We cannot offer discounts to equine patients.
No. Unless the condition is imminently destructive to the eye, we require an initial exam to assess your pet’s condition and discuss what his or her options might be. Doctors are not scheduled to perform surgeries on the same day they see outpatients unless under special circumstances. Surgery can often be scheduled within a week following your first appointment.
Any surgery is a commitment, just as it is in human medicine. The cost of surgery varies widely depending on the procedure, and complex ophthalmic surgeries can require many months of aftercare. We provide written estimates for any procedure we recommend after examining your pet. Please contact our office with further questions.
No. We do not keep any animals in our clinic overnight. Patients are dropped off between 7:00am and 7:30am the day of their surgery and are usually ready to be taken home by that afternoon.
Have you had a good experience with a pet-friendly hotel near our office? Please let us know! Send an email with your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Hotels” in the subject line and we will pass that information along to our other clients.
Several sites online may be a helpful resource for finding pet-friendly lodging in Nashville:
Dogfriendly.com’s Tennessee Guide
The first post-operative exam and standard tests (pressure, tears, and/or staining) are included in the cost of surgery. Medications and other testing (such as blood glucose or laboratory tests) can vary, so they are charged on an as-needed basis during your follow ups. Additional rechecks after this first post-op exam are not included in the cost of surgery.
If you are using a CareCredit payment plan (see below) to cover the cost of your surgery and would like to lump future rechecks into this sum, please let us know and we can make the necessary arrangements.
Our office partners with CareCredit to offer interest-free payment plans for up to 12 months. Authorization can be completed immediately over the phone.
Most medications can be picked up from our office or mailed out to you. Some medications that are not veterinary specific can be called in to your local pharmacy, though prices can vary widely. Please contact our office well before you run out of medications so there is no lapse in treatment for your pet!
Please note: we cannot fill medications for pets that we have never examined, have not examined within a year, or that have experienced changes to their eyes and have not been re-evaluated by their ophthalmologist. Please visit American Veterinary Medical Association‘s website about veterinary pharmacy/prescription regulations for more information.
Liquid eye medications should be given 1 drop to the surface of the eye, underneath the lid. Ointments should be given in a small 1/8″ string to the surface of the eye or underneath the lid. Tilt your pet’s head up, then place a finger just above the eyelid and pull up gently to expose the eye surface. Apply the medication, then allow the eyelid to close over it and coat the eye surface. Wait 2-3 minutes before administering the next eye medication (10-15 minutes if the medication is used to stimulate tear production, such as Cyclosporine or Tacrolimus). It’s best to give liquid eye drops first, then ointments, then lubricants (GenTeal Gel, i-Drop Vet).
For more information view our comprehensive Medication Guide.
CAER stands for the Companion Animal Eye Registry of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. These exams are performed by board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists to screen for inheritable eye diseases and abnormalities in purebred dogs.
CAER exams are essentially the same as the CERF exams previously used. Submission of results and certification are now through the OFA.
We prefer that a dog be at least 8 weeks old before the test is performed.
As it takes roughly the same amount of time to examine each patient, the cost will be the same for each patient examined, regardless of the number.
We normally schedule our these appointments 2-5 weeks in advance depending on the number of dogs. It’s best to call as soon as possible in order to find a time that is convenient for your schedule.
If this is your first appointment with us and you have more than 3 dogs, we require that half of the examination fee be paid when the appointment is scheduled. This deposit will be applied to your invoice when services are rendered. Should you miss your scheduled appointment time without at least 48 hours prior notification, this deposit will not be refunded.
1. Your pet’s Registered Name and Birth Date.
2. Permanent ID and/or Microchip Number.
3. AKC Number.
4. For large litters, please bring additional help.**
5. Payment method.
Most dogs will need to receive drops to dilate their eyes 20-30 minutes prior to examination. Our staff will do this when you arrive for your appointment.
**We do not allow animals to be kept inside cars unsupervised while waiting to complete exams. For their health and safety, all animals should be brought inside the building and kept with their owners while at our facility. Please bring enough help so that all of your animals are able to be supervised in a safe environment.
Dalmatians, Australian Shepherds, Mastiffs, Basenji, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be prone to ocular disorders associated with the iris and pupil, so we examine these dogs both before and after their eyes have been dilated.
Recent studies suggest that domestic animals do see color, but not as wide a range of them as humans do. Domestic animals have fewer of the “cones” on the retina that allow humans to see the full color spectrum.
Dogs lack green cones, which makes it difficult for them to differentiate between red, green, and other colors that fall in the middle of this wavelength. Cats also have diminished color vision, but are able to distinguish between two colors if they differ greatly and if the objects are large.
Dogs lack a macula, which is a cone-rich region of the retina that allows humans and other primates to see fine detail. Macular degeneration is a common cause of vision loss in older humans, but we would look for other causes of vision loss in your pet.