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Ophthalmology

Ophtho specialties page

Our pets deeply rely on their senses to explore and enjoy their world, so it’s critical that they have optimal vision. A number of diseases or injuries may affect your pet’s eye health. While your family veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine eye conditions, certain diseases and injuries require the advanced care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary ophthalmology in order to provide the very best outcome. An ophthalmologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the eyes and associated structures, and offers both surgical and medical (non-surgical) methods of treatment and care.

Our ophthalmology team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient and client care. We have renovated our GCVS facility on the West Loop to accommodate a dedicated ophthalmology exam, treatment, and surgical suite to ensure that we can handle the broadest spectrum of ophthalmic conditions. At Gulf Coast Veterinary Ophthalmology, you will find a friendly, experienced staff, utilizing state of the art equipment to ensure that your pet receives the best treatment available.

Common Eye Problems and Treatments:

Cataracts: A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes opaque, affecting the patient’s vision, and can ultimately lead to blindness. Surgical removal of cataracts is necessary to treat a cataract and has a high success rate. After surgery, most families will see their pet return to normal activity. Click here to listen to Dr. Hempstead’s radio interview on cataracts.

Corneal Grafts: When damage or disease has injured the cornea to the point of vision loss or blindness, a corneal grafting is performed. During surgery, the damaged cornea is removed, and replaced with a donor cornea. This surgery is highly successful and can restore vision for many otherwise visually impaired patients.

Entropion: Entropion is when the eyelid rolls inward, causing irritation and infl ammation of the eye. Surgical repair of entropion involves removing the extra skin around the eyes, which allows normal alignment of the eyelid.

Eyelid Mass Removal: Eyelid masses are a common problem for many patients, but the removal of these masses can be difficult due to the limited tissue surrounding the eye. Masses can be removed using surgical excision or cryosurgery (freezing of the tissue). In certain cases, skin grafting may also be required in order to close the incision or allow for normal eyelid movement post-operatively. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye): This is a disorder created by lack of adequate tear production and can cause ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and even blindness. The most common causes of dry eye are immunemediated disorders that aff ect the tear gland, injury of the tear gland itself, or injury of the nerves in the face and/or middle ear.

Grid Keratotomy or Diamond Burr debridement for non-healing ulcers (aka “Boxer ulcers”): Indolent, or non-healing ulcers form when the cornea is scratched and the body is unable to heal the affected area properly. These ulcers are most commonly found in older dogs and Boxers, thus the nickname “Boxer ulcer”. Grid keratotomy and diamond burr debridement stimulates the surrounding healthy corneal tissue to promote healing. These procedures do not require general anesthesia. While these procedure may need to be repeated, most non-healing ulcers will resolve with this therapy.

Prolapsed gland of the nictitans (aka “Cherry Eye”): When the tear gland of your dog’s third eyelid elevates out of place, it appears as a reddish mass in the corner of the eye, called “cherry eye”. This condition damages the gland and if left untreated, and can affect tear production and create corneal inflammation. “Cherry eye” is often a breed-related condition, and often times surgical repair is necessary.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye): This disorder occurs when tears are inadequately produced. This  underproduction of tears can cause ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, and even blindness. The most common causes of dry eye are immune-mediated disorders that affect the tear gland, and injury of either the tear gland itself, or the nerves in the face and/or middle ear.

Chemical Eye Burns