How to Refer a Patient

Referring a Case for Ophthalmic Specialty Care

While we will see patients without a direct referral, we believe it is in everyone’s best interest for each pet to have a good relationship and routine exams through a general veterinarian who is able to assess general health issues and triage eye problems.

Veterinary Vision is committed to partnering with you, as the primary care veterinarian, to provide the best possible ophthalmology services to your patients.

Telephone consultation is available to all local veterinarians for routine eye related advice and to determine if a case needs to be referred for specialty care.

It is extremely helpful for us to have a brief pertinent history of the condition, previous diagnostic tests and treatments for each new patient and/or new problem. We have prepared a  CASE SUMMARY FORM for this purpose which should take only a few minutes to complete. This is much preferable to faxing all of the pet’s records and helps ensure best possible care for your patients. We truly appreciate your cooperation in this matter!

How Urgently Should my Patient Have an Eye Exam?

Since our appointment slots are  limited, yet we want to offer time-appropriate care, we ask for your help in triaging patients.

We absolutely accommodate emergencies, but we are an appointment only facility and we do not accept unscheduled walk-ins.

Our CASE SUMMARY FORM (available as a PDF here) provides examples of most common eye conditions and how we assess their degree of urgency. It is a good place to start.

  • If the form does not leave you feeling confident about degree of urgency, feel free to call us at 650-551-1115.
  • If, in your experience, you disagree with the category of emergency stated on the form, you may override these generalities and simply check a different box on the Case Summary form before sending it to us.

Once you have decided on the degree of urgency, we ask that you

  • tell the client your opinion on degree of urgency (especially if you think pet needs to be seen very soon) so that they may pass on this information to us
  • ask the client to call us to make an appointment (so that we can collect their basic information prior to their arrival and warn them of an urgent fee if it applies)
  • send us the form while you are thinking about it
What About Evenings, Weekends, and Holidays?

We are open Saturdays in both of our locations, but closed Sundays and major holidays.

Our veterinary ophthalmologists volunteer their time for after hours consultations including:

  • providing advice on urgent treatment of patients
  • assessment of whether a case
    • needs immediate in person assessment by a veterinary ophthalmologist (ex: lens luxation with high IOP)
    • needs immediate care through an emergency hospital (ex: acute glaucoma, traumatic globe proptosis)
    • can wait until we are open (most corneal disease with medical treatment)
Common Indications for Ophthalmology Referral:
  • Any evidence of CATARACTS — Preferably as early in stage as possible.  Keep in mind examination prior to complete lens opacity allows for a fundus evaluation to detect evidence of retinal disease.   Additionally, early detection and treatment of secondary lens-induced uveitis reduces complication rate and severity.
  • Any suspicion of GLAUCOMA — corneal edema, scleral injection, pupillary dilation, visual impairment, elevated IOP. See information on Emergency Treatment for Glaucoma.
  • Corneal ULCERS which are deep (>30% of the corneal depth) or non-healing (duration > 7 days) even if superficial
  • Visual impairment, acute or chronic
  • Ocular symptoms (blepharospasm, epiphora, change in eye appearance or position) for which the cause is not apparent, especially if unresponsive to therapy
  • Ocular trauma — proptosis, corneal or scleral laceration, intraocular hemorrhage
  • Conditions requiring surgery of the cornea or intraocular structures or eyelid reconstruction
  • Chronic inflammation (possible tumor, lens luxation, uveitis)