What is veterinary ophthalmology?

Our veterinary ophthalmologist specializes in vision care and the diagnosis and treatment of eye and eyelid disorders. Our ophthaolmology service is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases in all animals including dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, and exotic species.

Who is a veterinary ophthalmologist?

A veterinary ophthalmology specialist has graduated from a veterinary medicine college, completed a 1-year internship in medicine and surgery, and successfully completed a 3-year ACVO-approved residency in ophthalmology. For a person to become an ACVO Diplomate, his or her credentials are reviewed and must be accepted by the ACVO Credentials Committee for the applicant to be allowed to take the ACVO certifying examination ("Boards"). The board exam is a three section, four day process, consisting of written, practical, and surgical portions. Finally, after passing all of the above criteria, the veterinarian is recognized as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists®. They are now board-certified in veterinary ophthalmology. Only board-certified persons may call themselves a "veterinary specialist," a "specialist in ophthalmology," or an "ophthalmologist" in a veterinary setting.

Our Treatment Capabilities:

  • Comprehensive eye exams including Schmirer tear testing, tonometry (test for glaucoma), fluorescein staining, slit lamp examination (magnified and systematic eye exam), and ophthalmoscopy (detailed retinal examination)
  • Examination for OFA Eye Registry to evaluate breeding animals for inherited eye disease
  • Cataract surgery with lens replacement
  • Conjunctival grafts
  • Corneal surgery
  • Surgical and medical management of non-healing corneal ulcers
  • Distichia/ectopic cilia corrections
  • Oculoplastic and reconstructive eyelid surgery
  • Glaucoma management
  • Medical and surgical management of KCS (dry eye)
  • Ocular prosthesis

Our advanced equipment and capabilities include:

  • Electroretinogram (ERG) which measures electrical responses in the retina and aids in diagnosing various retinal diseases
  • Phacoemulsification equipment for performing cataract surgery
  • Cryosurgical unit for minimally invasive treatment of eyelid masses, distichia, trichiasis and ectopic cilia
  • Diode laser for the treatment of glaucoma, some ocular tumors and retinal diseases
  • Operating microscopes and ophthalmic surgical instruments to perform delicate intraocular and corneal surgery
  • Ocular ultrasound equipment to perform more precise intraocular and orbital ultrasound evaluations
  • Gonioscopy to determine genetic predisposition for glaucoma
  • Collaboration with our anesthesia service for the highest quality, dedicated monitoring of our patients during surgery

Referrals & Consults:

If you have an emergency to refer, please call 403-770-1340 and explain that you have an ocular emergency to refer. Please request that one of the ophthalmology staff be paged. 

To make a referral or to receive a consult for your patient with an ophthalmic issue please call 403-770-1340, complete the ONLINE REFERRAL FORM.


  • Consultations and appointments available Monday – Thursday
  • Surgical and diagnostic procedures scheduled Monday – Thursday
  • Equine consultations available Friday
  • Available after-hours and Friday for ocular emergencies

How will I be informed after my client's appointment?

You will receive a referral letter by fax that includes diagnostic and treatment information. In addition, after each initial consultation, the doctor will contact you directly by phone with a brief verbal update. If surgery or additional diagnostics are performed, a surgical or diagnostic report with postoperative care and treatment recommendations will be provided by fax.

When Does My Pet Need an Eye Evaluation?

The following are some common indications that your pet needs an eye evaluation:

  • Eyes appear red
  • Eyes appear cloudy
  • Increased discharge or tearing
  • Squinting or rubbing
  • Decreased vision

A referral from a primary care veterinarian is requested when seeing our veterinary ophthalmologist.

What to Expect at Your Appointment:

  1. Once you are checked in with reception you will be greeted by an ophthalmology animal health technician who will bring you back to the exam room.
  2. The technician will obtain a history, and perform a brief eye exam and diagnostic tests.
  3. The technician will leave the room and present the case to the veterinary ophthalmologist. Both will return to the exam room.
  4. The veterinarian will then perform a comprehensive eye exam on your pet, including slit lamp biomicroscopy and ophthalmoscopy. Your pet’s diagnosis, treatment options, and further diagnostics, if necessary, will be discussed with you.
  5. We will work with you to make decisions about the care of your animal, and schedule or perform any diagnostics or treatments that are decided upon.
  6. Note: If you are traveling from a long distance please bring this to our receptionists’ attention so that we can best accommodate you and your pet if the need for surgery is suspected.
  7. Upon discharge, you will be provided with oral and written discharge instructions, medication information, home care instructions, and follow-up recommendations.

Resources for You & Your Pet

What Specialized Training Does A Veterinary Ophthalmologist Have?

Veterinary Ophthalmologists are Veterinarian Specialists in Cat and Dog Eye Problems

Just like a human ophthalmologist, veterinarians interested in ophthalmology must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. In veterinary medicine, specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). A veterinarian that has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVO,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVO. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:

  • Obtained a traditional 8-year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).
  • Usually has completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery.
  • Completed an additional three-year residency in ophthalmology at a veterinary teaching hospital.
  • Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVO, which includes publishing credits, case reports, and a resume.
  • Passed a rigorous, multi-day examination consisting of written, practical, and surgical sections.


After completing and passing all of the above, the veterinarian is recognized by his or her peers as a board-certified specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. As you can see, when your pet needs the specialized care of a veterinary ophthalmologist, all of the intensive training and additional education outlined above is focused on helping your pet to recover from, or enjoy the highest quality of life while living with the condition.

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