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What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist?

A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist has completed rigorous training to obtain specialized skills in the medical exam and surgery of the eye.  Like a human medicine specialist (cardiologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedic surgeon etc.), veterinary ophthalmologists are an expert in their field.  


To become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, a veterinarian must complete 4-years of veterinary school, a minimum of 12 months full-time clinical practice, and satisfactorily complete a 3 to 4-year residency training program in veterinary ophthalmology under the supervision of multiple boarded-certified veterinary ophthalmologists.  The successful applicant then is permitted to take the board-certification examination. The exam is a multi-day process consisting of multiple written and live-surgical components, all of which must be passed. After achieving all of these criteria, a veterinarian is then recognized as a Diplomate of the ACVO and becomes a board-certified specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. Only a veterinarian who has passed all of these components may use these titles.

Why a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?

Because we know eyes the best.

Veterinary ophthalmologists are committed to providing the very best in patient care. The level of excellence set by the Diplomates of the ACVO extend to both the exam room and the operating room.  Microsurgery on the cornea or intraocular structures in particular demands a level of skill that only comes with time, experience and training.  This applies to acquiring not only the appropriate technical proficiency to perform microsurgery, but also the clinical judgement needed to identify when it is needed, or to deal with potential complications.  Special microsurgical instrumentation and an advanced competence with the necessary equipment is also needed.  Just as you would only go to an experienced microsurgeon if you needed corneal or intraocular surgery (or a cardiac surgeon for heart surgery), so you would do the same for your pet.

When does my pet need a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?

Dr. Snyder works in concert with your primary care veterinarian to provide the best eye care for your pet. Commonly, your primary or emergency veterinarian and your animal will benefit from referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist.


Many eye diseases are time sensitive so prompt consultation or referral is often in your animal's best interest. You do not need a referral to schedule an appointment with us directly.


The following are some specific situations to consider referral or directly scheduling an appointment: 


  • Your pet has lost vision or has a painful squinty eye.

  • Your pet has discharge that has not resolved.

  • Your pet's eye is red and/or has changed in color.

  • A corneal ulcer has not responded to treatment(s). 

  • Your pet has diabetes that can lead to cataracts, a consult may be needed prior to their development causing complete vision loss.

  • Your pet's eye condition has not responded to the recommended therapy.

  • Responsible breeders who want to ensure their animals have no inherited ocular disease.

  • Any other eye related issue your pet is dealing with.


Contact Us



Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM


After Hours Available Via Emergency Clinic Consults Monday thru Friday

Service Locations


Anchorage Veterinary Clinic & Urgent Care

8811 Toloff Street

Anchorage, AK, USA



North Star Animal Hospital

840 S. Cobb Street

Palmer, Alaska 99645



North Pole Veterinary Hospital

2942 Hurst Road,
North Pole, AK 99705

(907) 488-2335


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