Lucky The Beagle – Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition where there is increased pressure within the eye.

Inside the eye, cells produce a clear fluid (aqueous humor) that nourishes the tissues and maintains the shape of the eye. When there is proper drainage of the fluid into the bloodstream, normal pressure is maintained within the eye.

The problem starts when the drainage is partially or fully blocked. As the fluid continues to be produced but does not drain properly, pressure within the eye increases.

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Left untreated, increasing pressure within the eye can damage the optic nerve and cause irreversible blindness. The pressure also stretches and enlarges the eye, as can be seen in Lucky’s left “bloodshot eye”.

Glaucoma can be inherited or caused by different conditions including uveitis (inflammation of the eyes), lens displacement and retinal detachment. Lucky’s condition is caused by advanced cataracts which were untreated.

Being a painful condition, dogs with glaucoma may partially close or rub their eyes and avoid being touched. There may be eye discharge and the sclera (white of the eye) may look red.

Veterinary ophthalmologist measures the Intraocular Pressure (IOP) using a tonometer. Normal IOP is between 10 and 20mmHg.

Dr Heng Yee Ling, Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre (Farrer), measures the pressure within the eye – Intraocular Pressure (IOP) – using an instrument called a tonometer.

The IOP in Lucky’s left eye is 34mmHg. Normal IOP is between 10 and 20mmHg.

Unfortunately, Lucky is already blind from advanced cataracts. Although his sight cannot be restored, medications can provide pain relief and offer him some comfort. Lucky will be on longterm medicated eyedrops to reduce both the inflammation and pressure within his eyes.

If the pressure remains elevated, enucleation (surgical removal of the eyeball) may have to be considered.

How is Lucky coping? As with most blind dogs, he is adjusting quite well to blindness by depending a lot more on his sense of smell and hearing. Once your blind dog has “mapped out” the house, try not to move furniture or other items around. Unique scents or little bells can also help your blind dog locate different areas or objects in the house.