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When does my pet need to see a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?

Many eye problems are managed by your family veterinarian. However, if your family veterinarian believes that your pet patient would benefit from the skills and experience of a specialist, he or she will refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for care. Typical problems that are referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist include: cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases, severe injuries, and cancer of the eye.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Just like a human ophthalmologist, veterinarians interested in ophthalmology must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. In veterinary medicine, specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). A veterinarian that has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVO,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVO. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:

Obtained a traditional 8 year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).

Usually has completed a one year internship in small animal medicine and surgery.

Completed an additional three year residency in ophthalmology at a veterinary teaching hospital.

Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVO, which includes publishing credits, case reports, and a resume.

Passed a rigorous, multi-day examination consisting of written, practical, and surgical sections.
Veterinary Ophtalmologists are Veterinarian Specialists in Cat and Dog Eye Problems
Need an Eye Vet? Learn more about VCA's board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists and how they can help treat your cat or dog's eye problems.

After completing and passing all of the above, the veterinarian is recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. As you can see, when your pet needs the specialized care of a veterinary ophthalmologist, all of the intensive training and additional education outlined above is focused on helping him or her to recover from or enjoy the highest quality of life while living with the condition.

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