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The University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital is once again offering free eye exam screenings to service and working animals this May as part of the 12th Annual American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event.

Registration by April 30 at www.ACVOeyeexam.org is required to participate. Upon registering, owners will receive a confirmation number and a list of participating veterinary clinics so that they can then contact the clinic closest to them to schedule an appointment.

“Our ophthalmology team looks forward to this event each year,” Dr. Kate Myrna, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the UGA VTH, said. “It is a chance for us to give back to the community and to support these amazing animals and their owners.”

More than 300 board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico participate in the event annually, using specialized equipment and their expertise to look for potential 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.

Since the program’s launch in 2008, more than 68,000 service and working animals nationwide have had their eyes examined for free. To participate, animals must be “active working animals” that have been trained through a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. This includes certified guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and therapy animals. For more information, visit https://www.acvoeyeexam.org/.