The thought of removing a pet’s eye can be scary, but in some cases, eye removal is necessary to improve the pet’s quality of life. Dr. Lucien Vallone, a clinical assistant professor in the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how eye removal can be beneficial.
“Veterinarians and veterinary ophthalmologists perform an eye removal when an eye has become both painful and blinded by a disease that is unresponsive to medical therapy,” Vallone said. “The most common cause of this in dogs and cats is from a disease called glaucoma, which creates high pressure in the eye. Eye removal is also performed when an aggressive or malignant tumor invades the eye or nearby structures.”
Having just one or no eyes may seem unpleasant, but most pets that have had one or both eyes removed experience a dramatic increase in their quality of life.
“Most animals are experiencing chronic pain prior to eye removal, so most will respond postoperatively by displaying more energy and playfulness,” Vallone said. “Every animal is different, but most dogs and cats who have had one eye removed are behaviorally indistinguishable from their two-eyed peers.”
Following a surgery to remove an eye, pet owners can expect to see some bruising and swelling over the surgical site for three to five days, Vallone said.
Additionally, the pet may have some pain following surgery, which should subside within two to three days. Pets that have had one or both eyes removed will appear as if they are squinting or winking. The skin is closed permanently over the area in which the eye was removed, and fur typically grows back over the area within three to four weeks after surgery, Vallone said.
In cases where eye removal is necessary, removing a pet’s eye can be beneficial and even lifesaving. Even when a pet is missing one or both eyes, they can still live a normal, happy life.