My Cocker Spaniel developed a very reddened eye and after seeing my veterinarian, she was diagnosed with glaucoma. I have heard of that in people, but was unaware that it also occurred in dogs. What should I expect from this condition in my dog?
Glaucoma is a disease in which pressure within the eye increases to dangerous levels. It is one of the most common causes of blindness in dogs. The maintenance of the normal pressure within the eye depends on a delicate balance between production and drainage of internal eye fluid. If drainage is blocked, the internal eye pressure may rise to dangerous levels (glaucoma) that can destroy the retina and cause permanent blindness. Clinical signs may typically involve a squinting eye, a single dilated pupil, a "blood shot" eye, hazy eye, and sudden loss of vision.
The causes of glaucoma include blockage of the drainage passage due to birth defects (inherited in some breeds) inflammatory conditions, injuries, tumors and pupil and lens disorders. Treatment for the condition includes reducing the pressure and relieving the pain. The earlier glaucoma is recognized, the more successful the treatment can be. Therapy may involve hospitalization initially, and then both oral and topical medication at home. In many cases, surgery may be required, including laser procedures or placement of drainage tubes.
With the advent of new topical medications and surgery, veterinarians are able to do a better job of controlling elevating eye pressures. Pet owners must understand that the internal eye pressure must be monitored periodically so that medications may be adjusted according to your pet's response to treatment.