Meet The Vets

Meet a Veterinary Ophthalmologist


A veterinary ophthalmologist is a veterinarian who focuses on treating diseases and injuries to the eyes of animals. To become a specialist, these veterinary ophthalmologists went through many years of training beyond veterinary school and then passed tests to demonstrate their knowledge of ophthalmology

Veterinary ophthalmologists practice at both universities and in private practices throughout the country. They see patients that are “referred” to them by general veterinary practitioners.

When a new patient arrives, the veterinary ophthalmologist will work up the case by taking a “history”, performing an exam and doing special eye tests. Often they will test how well an eye makes tears, and test the pressure inside the eye with a device called a tonometer. They will also sometimes stain the eye to check for injuries or scratches to the outside.


Surgery is often the best way for these animal eye doctors to help a pet. Eye surgery is a delicate procedure on very small areas of the eye. In fact, these veterinarians must often use a microscope to perform their surgeries.


As Dr. Matt Chandler describes it, the desire to become a veterinarian started with a job he took when he was 14 years old. “Originally it was just a job as a kid to make some extra money. I basically did general kennel work, cleaning cages and helping doctors hold animals during exams.” He then continues “But I ended up staying there for years. And as time went on, it became evident that that was the thing I wanted to do”. Dr. Chandler finishes saying “I love working with animals but I also love the science.”

“I love working with animals but I also love the science.”​

Today, that love continues. As a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist at the Animal Eye Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Chandler’s work involves a high level of science and, of course, working with animals. In fact, helping pets with their vision is what makes his role as a veterinarian so rewarding. “When a patient with cataracts comes in blind and then goes home seeing again.” He continues, “Hearing the owner describe how they’re looking around again. On the ride home they’re looking out the window of the car. And they’re following birds or chasing the ball in the yard.”


One thing viewers of this film will notice right away is that veterinary ophthalmologists do a lot of surgical procedures and those surgeries are quite different from the operations other veterinarians perform. As Dr. Chandler describes it “Everything is done on a much smaller scale. We are specifically trained to do surgery under an operating microscope which is a little bit of a learning curve initially.” He adds “Very small motions translate to big motions under a microscope.” His advice to future veterinarians who hope to be eye surgeons “To be good at surgery you have to learn patience.”


In this video, you’ll go behind the scenes and follow Dr. Chandler as he sees patients with eye problems. You’ll see him as he first sees the pet in the exam room and watch as he treats their eye problem. This film will also take you into the operating room and give you a glimpse of surgical procedures on the eye. You’ll watch doctor Chandler as he performs very delicate surgeries using specialized equipment.


This video is low on the gross meter. It has a couple of things that could gross you out if you are very sensitive. You will see close ups of animal eyes. You will also see the veterinarian suture some patients.

Written by: Dr. Chris Carpenter
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