I have bad news for you. Our retinas – the tissue that our speaker Dr. Ron Ofri describes as the most exquisite tissue in the body – are backwards. That’s right. The back of our eyes are inside-out. It turns out that octopi have one-up on this one. We may have opposable thumbs but they have right-way-around retinas. Why is this? Well, as the most metabolically active tissue in the body, eyes need an awful lot of blood supply and so they have a dual blood supply. We see the visible vessels which supply the inner and mid-retina with ophthalmoscopy, and then there’s also the choroid which supplies the photoreceptors. Because of this, light and nervous signals sort of bounce up and down in the back or our eyes. Hence, inverted retina. Confused? Good thing that our webinar this week is about the dog eye anatomy.

The members webinar this week was about the anatomy of the fundus of the eye. I cannot put enough emphasis on how much I enjoyed this webinar. Dr. Ron Ofri has a wonderful way of speaking and I’ve never heard someone so enthusiastic about eyes. We cover mostly eye anatomy of the dog: definition of the fundus, the anatomy of the fundus of the eye and what to look for with ophthalmoscopy.

All slides in the webinar are clear and have great continuity. There’s a specific graphic of the layers of the eye that carries us through the first half of the webinar – like a roadmap of the stations we’re stopping at. We also get a histological section of the eye which we bring with us on our journey. I almost never see histological sections in webinars and as a budding pathologist I am so grateful for Dr. Ron for choosing to include them! We’re given examples of ‘good’ eyes and ‘bad’ eyes. There are examples of things to look for, and an explanation of why we’re looking for them.

They say that the eyes are a portal to the soul. I’m not sure about that, but I can see now how they can be a portal into the body. We all wish, as veterinarians and vet nurses, that we can just see into the animal with our magical x-ray eyes. Maybe it doesn’t work that way, but it sort of works in reverse. Hyperlipidaemia and hypertension both can present with ocular changes. Our speaker puts it well “the eyes are the only place where you can see the blood supply without cutting it open”. So, there’s a bit of the x-ray eyes that your clients request you use.

There’s something for everyone, even though the webinar generally focuses on canine ophthalmology. There are slides comparing species – felines, various ruminants, equines, lab animals, non-mammals, and even human. There is also a quick review of the types of ophthalmoscopy available and their advantages and disadvantages – direct, indirect, and panoptic monocular indirect.

Fun facts are sprinkled through the webinar as well, and a big emphasis is made on learning what ‘normal’ is. Eyes can be such a black-hole for knowledge. I can certainly say I’ve rarely seen someone use an opthalmoscope during my seeing practice days. I know that I haven’t seen ophthalmoscopy used as part of a normal clinical investigation but it does beg the question… how do you know what normal looks like if you never see normal? With all the slides of beautiful eyes and incredible pathologies, I’m reinspired to look at all the eyes I can. I can’t sing the praises of Dr. Ofri enough, but you’ll have to check him out yourself. You can find the link to the webinar I watched first here. His other webinars are here, including one where he answers ‘do dogs see in black and white?’.

Are you interested in more opthalmology-focused blogs? You can find our blog on exotic eyes here!