SHARE What Do Veterinarians Do?  Cataract Surgery on a Dog

What do veterinarians do?  Where do veterinarians work?  What do veterinarians wear?  This article series was created to highlight the incredible number of things veterinarians do, the many places veterinarians work, and the diversity of patients veterinarians treat.


Dr. Mathew Chandler is a veterinary ophthalmologist at the Animal Eye Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  Veterinary ophthalmologists specialize in treating the eyes of animals.  Today, Dr. Chandler is seeing a patient that has been sent or “referred” to him by another veterinarian.

Bruno is a middle-aged pug who is having trouble seeing. vUpon examination, Dr. Chandler notices that Bruno eyes are white and cloudy and he diagnoses cataracts in both eyes.  A cataract is a cloudiness or fogging in the lens of a dog’s eye. In this case, the cataracts are preventing Bruno from seeing.

Dr. Chandler decides to perform surgery with the hope of giving Bruno his sight once again.

About the Procedure
Cataract surgery is a very delicate surgery of the eye.  During the procedure, Dr. Chandler must remove the cloudy portion of the lens and replace it with an artificial lens.  The lens of an eye is one of the structures that help’s a pet focus its vision.

The lens and the surrounding structures are inside the eye and very small. In order to work on these small structures, Dr. Chandler must perform the surgery while looking through a microscope.  He must also use specialized instruments that are specifically made for eye surgery.

After the old lenses in the eye are removed and replaced with new clear lenses, Dr. Chandler closes the eye with suture material that is smaller than a human hair.

Do You Want to Become a Veterinary Eye Specialist and Help Animals See Again?
A veterinary ophthalmologist is a specialist who treats diseases and injuries to the eyes of pets.  Since veterinary ophthalmologists study the eyes of many different species, they can treat a wide variety of animals.  They treat not only dogs and cats but also horses, gorillas, hawks, seals and other unusual animals.

These veterinarians also use highly specialized equipment during their examination of the eyes, including slit lamps, indirect ophthalmoscopy, and tonometry (photo).  They also perform surgeries in an operating room that is equipped to handle the very specific needs of eye procedures.

Today there are about 400 veterinary ophthalmologists in the United States.  To become a veterinary ophthalmologist, you’ll have to go through more training after you become a veterinarian and then pass advanced tests about the eye.  Then you’ll be able to join this exciting group of veterinarians.

If you are old enough, you might be able to volunteer at the veterinary ophthalmologist’s hospital in your community.  For younger children interested in becoming a veterinary eye specialist, you should consider attending a veterinary college open house.  There you can visit with the veterinarians in that college who focus on the eyes of pets.

Do You Want to See More?
If you are an Ichabod Ink Insider, there is a lot more to see. You can watch the video of Bruno’s surgery in the film “Helping Dogs See Again”. You can also meet Dr. Chandler and hear him describe what he does in “Meet a Veterinary Ophthalmologist”.

Veterinary Ophthalmologists are specialists and there are lots of specialties in veterinary medicine today. If you want to learn more about other veterinary specialists, visit Ichabod’s Library and watch films like “Meet Veterinary Oncologists”.


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    Learning about animals is cool but how do you know if a horse is pregnant.



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