Glaucoma in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by when the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye is increased.

What is Intraocular Pressure (IOP)?

IOP pressure needs to remain consistent, with there being an equal amount of fluid (aqueous humor) made in the ciliary body and drained between the cornea and the iris. This vital fluid contains nutrients and oxygen used by various structures in the eye. Various ligaments in the ciliary body in the eye are in control of the lens movements and it also dictates the lens shape to ensure sharp focused vision.

So, the aqueous humor fluid is created in the ciliary body to help control the lens and the fluid then flushes between the cornea and the iris in the eye. When this drainage between the cornea and iris is blocked for whatever reason, the fluid pressure begins to mount, and that intraocular pressure (IOP) is what causes glaucoma.

Why is the Intraocular Pressure a Problem?

High pressure affects the retina and the optic nerve. The retina is responsible for the housing the rods and cones in your eye that convert light into neural impulses. The optic nerve then transmits those impulses to the brain. When the intracranial pressure increases, damage and degeneration of the retina and optic nerve occurs.

What Are The Signs of Glaucoma and How Is It Diagnosed?

  • Eye pain. You might notice your dog rubbing their eye or squinting it. Turning the head away when you pet the dog is another sign when combined with the other conditions.
  • Watery discharge
  • Lethargy, loss of appetite
  • Cloudy or Bluish color in the cornea (clear part of the eye)
  • Blindness can occur if the IOP pressure is not alleviated

In the event that there is acute glaucoma, you need to seek medical attention immediately. In chronic glaucoma, these signs might onset over time.

What Is The Treatment For Glaucoma?

There are sets of medicine that promote drainage to help alleviate the pressure buildup. These medicines will often come in tandem with surgery, especially in the more advanced stages of glaucoma. In the worst cases, removal of the eye might be necessary.

Once identified, glaucoma needs to be treated and monitored through regular observation and checkups with the doctor.