Since its inception in 2008, nearly 22,000 service animals have received free exams through the National Service Animal Eye Exam Event sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO). The program provides free screening eye exams by board-certified diplomates of the ACVO.
More than 250 ophthalmologists throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico donate their time and resources to the program, which runs through the month of May. Active, working service animals including guide, assistance, detection, military, search-and-rescue and registered therapy animals that are certified or currently enrolled in a formal training program qualify for the program.
Ophthalmologists wishing to participate in the event can register at acvoeyeexam.org. Participants will be provided with a flyer to send to referring veterinarians, customizable local press release, website banner ads, program summary sheets and examination forms. The program also provides a booth to promote the program at a local conference and a PowerPoint slide deck for a session presentation.
In order to obtain an appointment through the program, service animal owners must register their animal online at acvoeyeexam.org during the month of April. Once registered, they will be able to access a list of participating ophthalmologists in their area. The service animal’s owner will then contact ar local veterinary ophthalmologist for an appointment.
Participating ophthalmologists can determine the hours and the number of appointments they can contribute to the event. Service animal owners are told appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. The ACVO’s goal for 2014 is to provide exams for 8,000 animals.
For more information or to register, go to acvoeyeexam.org.