Glaucoma, an eye condition that damages the optic nerve, is the leading cause of vision loss, both in humans and canines. There is no known cure, and it can only be slowed down with medical and surgical treatments to lower eye pressure. Currently, most dogs with glaucoma will go blind. One group of veterinarians is working to change that.
On Saturday, November 5, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) Vision for Animals Foundation (VAF) hosted a Think Tank at the Westin DTW focused on Surgical Techniques for the Treatment of Canine Glaucoma. Eleven clinical and non-clinical specialists from both human and animal medicine gathered to exchange ideas and identify new research priorities that could result in a lower rate of vision loss in dogs with glaucoma.
Dr. András Komáromy, VAF board member and associate professor in Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, organized this second-of-its kind Think Tank.
“Our first Think Tank was in 2014, and it focused on Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), which is a disease causing incurable blindness in dogs,” said Dr. Komáromy. “Based on the recommendations of the last Think Tank, the VAF funded a $30,000 grant for SARDS research.”
The members of this year’s Canine Glaucoma Think Tank are writing a white paper summarizing the ideas generated at their meeting. The proposed research may prove to be pivotal for glaucoma-affected canines, in which the disease not only results in vision loss but is also associated with eye pain due to elevated eye pressure.
“With glaucoma, we’re doing things a little differently—instead of using animals as a model for humans, we’re actually proposing surgical techniques proven successful in human glaucoma patients to be evaluated in affected canines,” said Dr. Komáromy. “Pursuing the recommended strategies and research will likely lead to new knowledge and advancements in our understanding of glaucoma and how to treat it. These findings can advance health for both humans and animals.”
The white paper is expected to be published in the spring of 2017. For more information about glaucoma or the ACVO and its Foundation, visit the ACVO and VAF webpages.