Glaucoma: A Vexing Problem for Animals and their Doctors


By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, TX

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in dogs, and it can be a difficult and frustrating disease for vets in McKinney, TX to treat. Glaucoma is essentially an elevation of pressure (Intraocular Pressure – IOP) within the eyeball. Elevated IOP can result from a number of disorders within the eye, which creates some of the difficulty in treating the condition. Correctly diagnosing the cause of this increased pressure is essential in determining which medications or surgical approaches will provide the best chance of success.

vets in McKinney TexasFluid (aqueous humor) that is normally produced within the eye is responsible for maintaining the eyes’ normal shape and giving nourishment to internal structures. Aqueous humor is produced by structures behind the iris (the colored portion of the eye), and travels forward through the pupil to the front portion of the eye. It typically drains through small ducts in an area called the iridocorneal angle.
Glaucoma occurs when drainage of aqueous humor is impaired. It can be a primary condition or arise secondarily to other disorders of the eye. Primary glaucoma is most typically seen in the Basset Hound, Shar Pei, American Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, Chow Chow, Jack Russell terrier, Siberian Husky and Elkhound. Primary glaucoma is rare in cats.


Secondary glaucoma can be caused by conditions such as inflammation or infection in the eye, mature cataracts, cancer, luxation of the lens, or a detached retina.

Patients with glaucoma are almost always in pain because of the increased IOP. Animals may show signs of their pain through decreased appetite, unwillingness to play, resisting touching of the face, and irritability. There may be drainage of tears from the affected eye. When vision becomes impaired, the animal will walk very carefully and may begin bumping into objects.

Affected eyes actually become larger in size. Blood vessels of the sclera (the white portion of the eye) are often more visible. There may be swelling of the cornea that makes it look blue or milky in appearance.

Vets in McKinney, TX measure IOP with instruments called tonometers. Additional tests are done to help determine the cause of the disease and to search for other disorders in the body. These findings lead to treatment protocols that are designed to decrease IOP and to manage other diseases. In all cases, the main goal of treatment is to control pain, even if the eye becomes blind.

Any pet that exhibits signs of glaucoma should be examined by vets in McKinney, TX. Pain ensues rapidly once IOP increases and pressure on cells of the retina cause blindness if the condition is not controlled.

Vets in McKinney Texas, TX 75071
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
5913 Virginia Parkway
McKinney, Texas 75071

Credit: Deposit Photos@ w i l l e e c o l e

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