What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is elevated pressure inside the eye, which causes visual impairment through damage to the retina and optic nerve. It is always due to problems with the drainage of fluid from inside of the eye, which occurs at the periphery of the eye through the iridocorneal angle. Glaucoma affects a variety of species, including domestic animals. Normal intraocular pressure ranges from 8-20mmHg in dogs and cats, and is measured with a tool called a tonometer. Glaucoma can be classified as primary, secondary or congenital.
What are the signs of glaucoma in animals?
Glaucoma can occur suddenly or gradually. The initial signs can be non-specific, and range from redness and cloudiness of the eye, squinting, a dilated pupil, vision impairment and enlargement of the eye. Glaucoma can also be painful for your pet, which many manifest as decreased appetite or lethargy.
What is primary glaucoma?
Primary glaucoma is the presence of elevated intraocular pressure without any other visible problems to the eye. It is suspected to have a genetic component, and genes associated with glaucoma are known for some breeds of dog. The exact pathogenesis behind pressure elevation is unknown, but it is thought to be due to anatomic problems that are present at birth but manifest or worsen later in life. Primary glaucoma is more common in dogs than cats, but affects both species. It can affect any breed of dog, including mixed breeds, but the most common breeds are the American Cocker Spaniel, Bassett Hound, Siberian Husky, Great Dane and Shar Pei. Primary glaucoma usually affects one eye first, and then some time later affects the opposite eye. The time frame between affected eyes can be days or years.
What is secondary glaucoma?
Secondary glaucoma is when the pressure in the eye becomes elevated because of another problem inside the eye. The inciting problems include inflammation (uveitis) or blood (hyphema) inside the eye, lens luxation, intraocular tumors and retinal detachment. Secondary glaucoma may or may not affect the contralateral eye depending on what its cause is. Secondary glaucoma affects both cats and dogs, but secondary glaucoma is much more common than primary glaucoma in cats.
What are the treatment options for glaucoma in pets?
Glaucoma can rapidly cause permanent blindness in animals, as well as pain. Prompt veterinary attention is recommended if glaucoma has been diagnosed or suspected. There are a variety of medical and surgical treatment options for glaucoma.