What it is: Glaucoma is a rise in eye pressure. It’s a disease unto itself, but it’s also a common end point for other ophthalmic diseases. Dogs can suffer from three forms of glaucoma. Congenital glaucoma is only seen in puppies 3 to 6 months old. This rare form can be in one or both eyes, and it is often seen with other ocular abnormalities. Primary glaucoma is a heritable condition in some breeds. Progressive interference with the outflow of fluid from the eye causes a rise in IOP. This variant always affects both eyes. Secondary glaucoma occurs when another eye disease is present. This can be a cataract, a luxated lens, tumors in the eye, or uveitis (eye inflammation). This form of glaucoma is not heritable, but the predisposing cause often has a genetic basis. The pain associated with glaucoma causes squinting, tearing, and elevation of the third eyelid. Blood vessels become prominent in the conjunctiva (white of the eye), and the cornea, which is normally clear, can look blue due to edema. Some dogs lose vision within a few hours.
Signs: Unfortunately, the initial signs of glaucoma are often subtle and hard to spot. It may just be a slight difference in pupil size, or the eyelid openings may not match. If both eyes are affected, it m ay look like the dog is squinting from a headache.
Diagnosis: Glaucoma is diagnosed by measuring the IOP—a tool measures resistance to indentation of the cornea. An ophthalmologist is often called in to exami ne the eye and measure the iridocorn Glaucoma can be difficult to manage, but the key is an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment for the best outcome. If you see something wrong with your dog’s eye(s), have your veterinarian check it immediately.eal angle. This helps differentiate primary from secondary glaucoma. The doctor may also discover a way to prevent the development of glaucoma in the second eye.
Photo credits: Labrador Retriever/istockphoto.com ©Luis Alvarez
Illustration by Kate Mccroary ©AKC