Glaucoma: the pressure that blinds

 
By Connie Orcutt • Published: April 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves
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Glaucoma. You may recognize it as an eye disease that threatens vision, but do you know how it affects our canine companions?

The normal eye produces liquid inside its chamber, which slowly and continuously drains into the body’s circulation. With glaucoma, the eye produces fluid faster than it can be drained and the intraocular (or inner eye) pressure rises. That pressure can eventually crush the retina, the lining at the back of the eye, and the optic nerve — both of which are required for sight.

Acute glaucoma occurs suddenly and can blind your dog in a few hours. It is extremely painful, resulting in tearing and squinting as the eye becomes firmer and looks fixed and cloudy. A painful eye is a veterinary emergency, since only immediate treatment may save their sight.