Veterinary Ophthalmology

The Animal Medical Center of Seattle’s ophthalmology service offers the highest level of specialty ophthalmic care for pets in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Our advanced medical diagnostic and surgical equipment allows us to diagnose your pet’s eye disease and develop a treatment plan that works for both your pet and your family, with the goals of comfort and vision in mind.  We also work closely with your primary veterinarian to achieve these goals long term.

Kristina Gronkiewicz, DVM, MS, DACVO

Kristina Gronkiewicz, DVM, MS, DACVO

Dr. Kristina Gronkiewicz is an Illinois native who received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Illinois in 2012, graduating with high honors.

Dr. Gronkiewicz then completed a one-year small animal medicine and surgery internship at Oklahoma State University. Once her internship was complete, she started a three-year comparative ophthalmology residency and master’s program at the University of Missouri.

Within two years, Dr. Gronkiewicz received a Master’s of Science degree and upon completion of the residency program in 2016, Dr. Gronkiewicz became a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. In addition to being a diplomate of American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO), Dr. Gronkiewicz also serves on the ACVO’s public relations committee, helping pet owners understand the importance of veterinary ophthalmologists.

After her residency, Dr. Gronkiewicz left the Midwest and relocated to northern California, practicing at a multi-doctor veterinary ophthalmology clinic near Sacramento from 2016-2020. In Sacramento, Dr. Gronkiewicz served as a member at large (2017-2018) and then president (2018-2019) of the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association (SVVMA).

Dr. Gronkiewicz is now looking forward to the next stage of her career and is excited to establish the ophthalmology department at Animal Medical Center of Seattle. Dr. Gronkiewicz loves all aspects of ophthalmology, but she has a special interest in corneal, glaucoma and cataract surgeries.

When Dr. Gronkiewicz is not in the office, she can be found spending time with her significant other, Ryan and their feisty tortoiseshell cat, Molly and talkative terrier, Eddie. There is never a quiet moment in their household.

Tips and Tricks for the Administration of Ophthalmic Medications in Pets

Giving any medication to your pet can be difficult but ophthalmic solutions and ointments are especially challenging. The schedule can be rigorous. Multiple medications may need to be given multiple times a day and each eye drop must be administered 2 minutes apart to allow for adequate absorption. The actual process of medication administration to a pet can seem impossible especially in non-compliant dogs and cats. However, it is very important to try to give medications as directed. Your pet’s eye health likely depends on your adherence to the prescribed medical regimen.

Don’t throw in the towel just yet. We are here to help! Below are several tips to help improve your eye medication administration:

  • Wash your hands before administering medications
  • Flush eyes with irrigating solution (eye wash) if discharge is present. Be sure this is not contact cleaning solution as the preservatives in contact cleaning solution can be irritating
  • Clean debris and discharge using a clean, wet washcloth or thoroughly moistened clean cotton ball.
  • If the medication is a suspension, such as prednisolone acetate or some compounded medications, then shake thoroughly
  • Apply only one drop or ¼ inch strip of ointment (about the size of a grain of rice) at a time. Applying more medication will not be harmful but is wasteful.
  • Apply medications in order of thickness i.e. apply drops first, followed by gel, then ointments.
  • If applying more than one medication at a time, you must wait at least 2 minutes between eye drops (solutions or suspensions). Ointments can be administered together at the same time.
  • Avoid touching the tip of the bottle or tube directly to your hands or your pet’s eye.
  • Wash your hands again, after medications have been given.

Now let’s put these basic principles of ophthalmic medication administration to practice.

If you are applying eye drops, you can try holding one hand under your pets chin to tilt their head up and your other hand to hold the dropper bottle. Use the side of your hand that is holding the dropper bottle to lift the upper eyelid. A single drop can then be applied. Although this technique can be used with your pet facing towards or away from you, it will likely be easier to perform with your pet facing away from you. This will allow your pet to brace against you (legs or chest depending on the size of your pet) and also prevent him or her from backing/wiggling away.

If you are applying an ophthalmic ointment, a similar technique can be used, applying the ointment directly to the eyeball. Alternatively, you can lift up the upper eyelid or pull down the lower eyelid and apply the medication along the eyelid. When your pet blinks, the medication will be distributed on the eye.

If your pet is difficult to treat, you may try to have family member or friend help with restraint while you give the medication. If a second set of hands are not available, you may consider asking your veterinarian about mild sedation. Certain sedative protocols can help reduce your pet’s stress about receiving medication and improve compliance. It may help reduce your stress level as well!

If you have a non-compliant cat, you can use a large bath towel to help restrain your fractious feline (see video).

After an eye drop is applied, you will likely notice your pet squint or blink more frequently. This squinting or blinking should only last one-two minutes. Occasionally, the medication will travel from the eye to the mouth via the nasolacrimal system (tear ducts) and if the medication is bitter, your pet will then salivate excessively. In some pets, this reaction can be quite severe. You can try to prevent this by giving a treat right after medications are given. If your pet is food motivated, treats may also help improve compliance.

If you have any questions or concerns about the ophthalmic medications that your pet has been prescribed, please contact the prescribing veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist.

Hopefully, by following these tips and tricks, you can feel more confident and less stressed as you give eye medications to your pet.

 

Common Ophthalmic Conditions

 

  • Eyelid abnormalities, including third eyelid gland prolapse
  • Eye trauma
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye disease)
  • Uveitis (Inflammation inside the eye)
  • Conjunctivitis (Allergic and infectious)
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal disease
  • Vision loss and blindness
  • Cataracts
  • Ocular tumors
  • Lens luxation

Click here to learn more.

 

Signs of Ocular Disease

 

  • Squinting
  • Discharge or tearing
  • Redness
  • Rubbing
  • Swelling
  • Cloudiness
  • Change in eye color
  • Elevation of third eyelid
 

Specialty Diagnostic Equipment

 

  • Slit lamp biomicroscopy
  • Binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy
  • Tonometry
  • Schirmer tear test
  • Gonioscopy
  • Electroretinogram
  • Ocular ultrasound, including ultrasonic biomicroscopy (UBM)
  • Anterior segment and fundic (retinal) photography

 

Advanced Surgical Procedures

 

  • Phacoemulsification with intraocular lens placement
  • Endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation
  • Ahmed valve implantation
  • Eyelid mass removal
  • Third eyelid gland replacement
  • Cryotherapy (adjunctive chemotherapy or cryoepilation)
  • Grafting of deep or ruptured ulcers
  • Blepharoplasties (reconstructive or corrective eyelid surgery)
  • Parotid duct transposition
  • Endolaser cyclophotocoagulation (ECP) – Click here to learn more.