Doggles, a manufacturer of protective eyewear for dogs, is trying on a new product line-ILS Doggles with corrective lenses.
"We are passionate about providing protective eyewear for dogs, but we wanted to take it a step further," said Roni Di Lullo, Doggles president. "And knowing how many dogs suffer from bad vision, this seemed like the obvious next step."
Michael Brinkmann, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, a veterinary ophthalmologist in Las Vegas, Nev., said that the company has worked with him to produce the corrective Doggles, which he is currently testing out on a handful of his patients.
In particular, he said, the lenses can be used to correct the farsightedness that occurs in dogs that have undergone cataract surgery but could not have lens implants.
"I give them an 'A' just for doing it," he said, adding that the company developed and supplied him with the test glasses free of charge.
Dr. Brinkmann said that he is still collecting feedback from clients testing out the glasses and that it was too early for him to definitively say whether the Doggles were being well received. He was, however, optimistic.
"I think the Doggles approach is a workable one," he said. "It's in its early stages."
Amy Bond, a spokeswoman for Doggles, said at press time the corrective Doggles were being issued on a case-by-case basis. A prescription from a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist is required to obtain the corrective lenses.
Brinkmann said that one of the problems he had encountered was that the powerful lenses required in the Doggles were thick and awkward. He added that some owners do not have the patience to work with their dogs to get them accustomed to wearing the glasses.
Most owners won't be able to tell if their dogs are far-sighted or near-sighted unless it's a very severe case, said Brinkmann.
As for the dogs that undergo cataract surgery without receiving a lens implant, these dogs will be able to spot a cat across the street but perhaps not see a bug walking in front of their food dish. These are the cases where Doggles could be most useful, he said, adding that these dogs all have a fairly similar refractive prescription.
Veterinarians are able to determine a dog's prescription by performing a retinoscopy, similar to how a human doctor would determine the prescription of a very small child, said Brinkmann. Although he said all veterinary ophthalmologists are trained to do a retinoscopy, he added that this is not the main focus of most practitioners and this work is most often done in academia.
Dan Brogdon, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, of the Jacksonville Animal Eye Clinic, said that he doesn't anticipate there will be much of a market for corrective lenses for dogs. He said that he had not previously heard about Doggles' offering corrective lenses.
"I just don't think it's practical," he said. He added that although some veterinarians might explore the option of corrective lenses, most are focused largely on eye surgery and disease. Few practitioners refract dogs, he said.
"As far as getting a lens into a Doggle, I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but you need to know the prescription," he said.
Along with the new corrective lenses, Doggles reports it is also offering opaque black lenses for Doggles for pets that are blind or to serve as a patch following surgery.
For more information on its product line, contact the company at (866) DOGGLES.
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