Free eye exams for service animals available during May

By Cindy Rice

The University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital is once again offering free eye exam screenings to service animals this May as part of the 10th Annual American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and Stokes Pharmacy National Service Animal Eye Exam Event.

Registration by April 30 at is required to participate.

Upon registering, owners will receive a confirmation number and a list of participating veterinary clinics so that they can then schedule an appointment.

“Board-certified ophthalmologists from all over the nation take part in this event each year,” Dr. Kate Myrna, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the UGA VTH, said. “We are proud to once again offer our support to these amazing animals who play such a crucial role in our society.”

During the exams, veterinary ophthalmologists will utilize specialized equipment and their expertise to look for problems such as cataracts, corneal issues and eyelid and retinal diseases.

“For many service animals, good eyesight is essential for them to perform the highly specialized tasks that they were trained to do,” Myrna said. “When it comes to the eyes, early detection of any potential problems is important.”

Since the program’s launch in 2008, more than 52,000 service animals have had their eyes examined for free. Eligible service animals include certified guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and therapy animals.

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