Glaucoma is a serious ocular condition in dogs characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP), which can lead to irreversible vision loss if left untreated. Surgical intervention plays a crucial role in managing glaucoma in dogs, offering hope for preserving vision and improving quality of life. This article delves into the world of glaucoma surgery for dogs, covering its purpose, common procedures, recovery, and the impact it has on canine eye health.

Table of Contents

Understanding Canine Glaucoma

Overview of Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of ocular diseases characterized by progressive optic nerve damage and visual field loss due to elevated intraocular pressure. Primary glaucoma, which occurs spontaneously, and secondary glaucoma, resulting from underlying ocular or systemic conditions, can both affect dogs.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs may include ocular pain, redness, corneal edema, dilated pupils, vision loss, and enlargement of the affected eye(s). Diagnosis typically involves measurement of intraocular pressure, assessment of ocular structures using specialized equipment, and evaluation of systemic health to identify underlying causes.

Surgical Intervention for Canine Glaucoma

Purpose of Surgery

The primary goal of glaucoma surgery in dogs is to reduce intraocular pressure, alleviate pain, and preserve vision by enhancing aqueous humor outflow or reducing aqueous humor production. Surgical intervention may be considered when medical management alone is insufficient to control glaucoma or when rapid pressure reduction is necessary to save the eye.

Common Procedures

Several surgical procedures may be employed to manage glaucoma in dogs, including:

  • Cyclophotocoagulation: Laser treatment aimed at reducing aqueous humor production by targeting the ciliary body’s secretory tissue.
  • Trabeculectomy: Surgical creation of a drainage channel in the sclera to facilitate aqueous humor outflow and lower intraocular pressure.
  • Implantation of Drainage Devices: Placement of shunts or tubes within the eye to divert aqueous humor from the anterior chamber to the subconjunctival space, reducing intraocular pressure.
  • Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP): Minimally invasive laser treatment performed through an endoscope to target the ciliary body and reduce aqueous humor production.

Preoperative Evaluation

Before undergoing glaucoma surgery, dogs undergo a comprehensive veterinary examination, including ocular assessment, imaging studies, and evaluation of systemic health to assess surgical candidacy and plan appropriate treatment.

Recovery and Postoperative Care


Following glaucoma surgery, dogs may require medications to control pain, inflammation, and prevent infection. Topical or systemic medications, such as analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics, are commonly prescribed to promote healing and comfort.

Ocular Protection

To minimize postoperative complications and promote healing, dogs may need to wear an Elizabethan collar or receive instructions to avoid activities that could traumatize the surgical site during the recovery period.

Follow-up Examinations

Regular follow-up examinations with a veterinary ophthalmologist are essential to monitor postoperative healing, assess treatment outcomes, and detect any signs of glaucoma recurrence or complications.


Surgical intervention plays a crucial role in managing glaucoma in dogs, offering hope for preserving vision and improving quality of life. By understanding the purpose, common procedures, recovery, and postoperative care associated with glaucoma surgery, dog owners can make informed decisions about their pet’s ocular health and ensure the best possible outcome. With advancements in veterinary ophthalmology and skilled surgical expertise, dogs affected by glaucoma can receive comprehensive care and enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Animal Eye Clinic

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Closed

Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities

Every Tuesday and Friday

Scroll to Top