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Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disorder, resulting from increased pressure within the eye caused by an intraocular pressure. This can be extremely painful for the pet and may lead to anatomical or biochemical blindness. Glaucoma can occur rapidly in our pets or may have a gradual onset, usually hereditary depending upon the cause. Primary glaucoma is typically caused by an anatomical defect that leads to decreased draining of aqueous fluids from the eye. Whereas, secondary glaucoma is caused by a different disease process in the body. Diagnosis is made by measuring the eye pressure (IOP) of both eyes by tonometry and comparing the values of each eye to one another.


Glaucoma may be a sudden a painful emergency or may present as a slowly progressive disorder. Treatment is usually lifelong unless it is secondary to a different disease process and that disease can be identified and reversed. Treatment is achieved with the use of various eye drops that have been formulated for the treatment of human

glaucoma. It is important that the eye drops are given on a consistent schedule. If glaucoma is diagnosed in one eye, it is common to start prophylactic treatment in the other eye to prevent rises in IOP. If glaucoma is determined to be primary, there are surgical options for correcting the anatomic defect.


  • Watery discharge from the eye
  • Eye pain (eye rubbing or turning away when being pet)
  • Bulging of the eyeball (whites of the eye turn red)
  • Cloudy, bluish appearance to the eye
  • Dilated pupil – or pupil does not respond to light
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swelling of the eye
  • Less desire to play
  • Squinting or keeping the eyes closed
  • Vision loss

If the pressures cannot be controlled with medication then additional pain control medicines or

even removal of the eye may be needed to keep the pet comfortable.

Glaucoma medications

Most glaucoma medications are obtained at human pharmacies with a prescription from your veterinarian. Sometimes you may be able to get the drops directly from your veterinarian. There are several different types of drops that may be used to treat glaucoma, your vet will work with you to select the best medication for your pet. Some medications work best when used every 8 hours, and others every 12 hours.


It is important to frequently monitor your pets. Optimally, when beginning treatment IOPs would

be measured weekly until they normalized. We recommend testing pressures once every 6 months once IOP has stabilized. This can be done at your vet with a technique called tonometry. The device measures the pressures within the eyes. The goals of therapy are to maintain the pressures of the eye(s) to as close to normal as possible.


identifying the underlying cause is very important. The prognosis for quality of life is good, as long as the pressures can be managed to prevent pain associated with high pressure.

Some breeds predisposed to glaucoma:

•Cocker Spaniels



•Basset Hounds

Working alongside your primary care veterinarian, you may need to seek out a veterinary eye specialist who can provide care for all ocular diseases that can impact your dog.