Just like with humans, animals can be affected by a range of eye diseases, and, just like humans, our pets may need to see a specialist for help.
Your veterinarian deals with many eye problems, but the kind of equipment and training needed to diagnose, and then treat, more complex animal eye diseases may mean your pet is referred to an ophthalmologist.
At Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH), that service is run by Dr Mark Billson.
As a veterinary ophthalmologist, Mark is an expert in diseases of the eye across a wide range of animal species.
Eye diseases can affect the tissues around the eyes, including the eyelids and muscles that move the eye, as well as the tissues of the eye itself.
With dogs, a common cause of blindness is cataracts. However advances in human medicine have boosted our ability to perform cataract surgery. For example, similar to humans, we are able to place an artificial lens during cataract surgery, meaning vision can be restored to how it would be with no cataract.
At SASH we are always communicating with your vet and once diagnosis and treatment have been set up, often animals will return to them for more long-term management.
As well as treating eye disease, Mark is also a panel member of the Australian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES), which allows animals to be screened for recognised hereditary eye diseases, specific to certain breeds. Any animal can be tested under the scheme and issued with a nationally-recognised certificate.
Our dog Bevis is 12 and needed eye surgery to remove a growth from one eyelid and reshape two others to stop irritating his eyes. Dr Groth at SASH gave careful consideration to the type of anaesthetic they needed because of his age. The ophthalmology staff were friendly but professional and the eye surgery went well. Bevis is much happier.
Meet the ophthalmology team at SASH here.