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CVM Researchers Test Therapies to Aid Animal Vision

Ophthalmologists at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine are researching new therapies to improve vision in animals large and small. One such study will test the effectiveness of a novel intra-ocular drug device to improve the vision and outcome of dogs undergoing cataract surgery.

Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment in dogs and frequently progress to cause total blindness. Fortunately, the vision of affected dogs can often be restored to a normal state by surgically removing the abnormal lens and substituting an artificial lens, making cataract surgery one of the most common and successful ocular surgeries performed in dogs. 

Despite the improvement in quality of life of many dogs, complications may develop after surgery including ocular inflammation and development of cloudiness, or “after-cataract”.  Long-term and frequent use of topical ocular medications is required to help prevent these complications. 

A new CVM study will determine the effectiveness of a novel method of sustained ocular release of celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory medication that can decrease ocular inflammation and eliminate "after-cataract".  In this study, special intraocular lenses containing celecoxib will be implanted in the eyes of dogs undergoing cataract surgery. The lenses, which provide a sustained release of celecoxib, were developed by the NC State University Ophthalmic Research Laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Brian Gilger, a CVM professor of ophthalmology.          

Intraocular drug devices, such as the one in this clinical study, have advantages over topical ocular drug administration (eye drops) because they deliver constant therapeutic levels of drug directly to the eye. Development of this innovative and unique method to treat ocular inflammation and prevent "after-cataract" is of critical importance in veterinary ophthalmology and would contribute markedly to the success of cataract surgery in dogs.                                       

For more information about this study, contact the NC State Ophthalmology Service in the Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center at 919-513-6659.

About the Ophthalmology Service. The Terry Center Ophthalmology Service combines world-renown veterinary ophthalmologists with advanced diagnostic and surgical equipment, instrumentation, and advanced surgical techniques. Treatments include, but are not limited to, cataract removal and intraocular lens implantation, glaucoma implants and laser procedures, correction of abnormalities in eyelid conformation, and medical treatments for a variety of ocular conditions. The service performs breed certification eye examinations (CERF exams) to screen for inherited or congenital eye disorders, which is particularly important for dogs participating in breeding programs. Research includes investigations into novel treatments for inflammatory diseases of the eye, drug delivery to the eye, advanced imaging techniques, and surgical techniques for glaucoma.

Updated March 19, 2012