Ophthalmology – the study of diseases of the eye.

The eye is a complex and exciting organ which, in the event of illness, often requires personnel with extra expertise in just the eye as well as advanced equipment. The eye is made up of several layers; an outer protective layer (cornea and tendon), a middle layer which is responsible for the supply of nutrients and the removal of waste substances and finally the innermost layer with the optic nerve. Using different techniques and instruments, all these layers must be assessed from the outside and by looking in through the pupil.

When is the eye examined?

Often a visit to an eye specialist or an ophthalmologist is made because the owner has registered signs of illness. Typical symptoms the owner notices are: damage to the cornea, pinching, tearing and color change. Apart from illness, eye examinations are also done routinely throughout the animal's life and in connection with breeding. For some breeds there is a requirement for an "eye examination certificate", the vet then excludes symptoms of various hereditary diseases. If you want a routine check-up, we recommend an eye examination at ophthalmologists at 1,3, 7 and XNUMX years.

Below is an overview and description of typical investigations that are carried out. In addition to the specific eye examinations mentioned below, ultrasound, MRI and other diagnostic imaging can be used if necessary. An eye examination is not painful unless the eye is damaged. Then it can be painful to get light in the eye.

Conversation with owner and visual inspection

Initially, the vet talks to the owner about what the visit is about. What is the main problem, when did it start, has the animal had the same or a similar problem in the past, has there been an incident etc. At the same time as talking to the owner, the animal is observed from a distance. Mental status, orientation ability, winking, pinching and more are important information. Then you may do some tests to check reflexes, these are not described in this text.

Schirmer's tear test

Schirmer's tear test is used to assess tear fluid production. It is a simple test where a strip of paper with a millimeter scale is placed between the conjunctiva and the eyelid. The strip is impregnated with a blue color at the bottom, this creeps up the strip together with the tear fluid and makes it easier to read the result. The Schirmer test is usually one of the first examinations carried out during an eye examination and must be carried out before applying eye drops or the like.




Using a tonometer, the pressure in the eye is measured. Pressure that is too high or too low is important information in an eye examination. When measuring, positioning and how you hold it is very important for the right result.


Fluorescein test is used to detect corneal ulcers. It is a dye that lights up in blue light.

Slit lamp

A slit lamp is like a small mobile microscope that is used to examine the outer part of the eye such as the eyelid and cornea and the outer part of the inner eye with the iris and lens. The instrument has a strong light source which together with the microscope makes it possible to examine these small, delicate structures. It requires a lot of practice to become good at using the lamp.


An ophthalmoscope is used to examine the retina at the very back of the eye. There are different versions of this instrument. Often you will see the vet with a lamp on his head and a magnifying glass in front of the eye being examined.