National Service Animal Eye Exam Event registration is now open


The 15th annual event provides free eye exams to service and working dogs in the United States



The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) announced registration for its 15th annual National Service Animal Eye Exam Event, sponsored by Epicur Pharma. The event provides screening-free eye exams to service and working animals.

"The ACVO/Epicur National Service Animal Eye Event is one that my colleagues and I look forward to all year. It not only gives us a chance to give back to some of the most deserving members of our human and animal community, but it also allows us a critical opportunity to protect the physical well-being and livelihood of the animals who are working to care for their humans. This event allows us to engage with a subset of the population that we might otherwise minimally have the opportunity to interact with, to offer thanks for their service, and to offer proactive care," said Elizabeth Lutz, DVM, DACVO, ACVO membership, promotion, & outreach committee chairperson, in an organizational release.1

According to the release, the event will bring together over 250 board-certified ACVO Diplomats from 170 cities located in Canada, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.1 The availability for theses appointments is limited and any interested handlers can register for the event for April and will receive an appointment sometime in May. AVCO also wants handlers to know that appointments will not be confirmed unless the handler/owner contacts the clinic directly.

To qualify for the exam, the dog must be active and currently working, formally trained in service and working abilities, or formally trained as a therapy animal. Therapy animals must be able to provide written proof of their registration and training. The paperwork qualifying the animal for the training and current working status of the service or therapy animal must also be provided to the clinic when they arrive for the exam as well as the registration number.

“Although most of the working animals that we screen have normal, healthy eye exams, we can identify and resolve minor issues quickly, and on rare occasions, identify and treat issues that could result in blindness and pain. These screenings offer a different and more specialized level of eye examination than is possible during a primary care or wellness exam, and we hope that every working animal will take advantage of this opportunity with a board-certified ophthalmologist each year," Lutz continued.1

Participating cities change every year so anyone interested in receiving this care should check out the ACVO website to confirm the cities they wish to receive the care in are still on the list. According to the release, the owner/handler will receive a link to participating clinics once they register to schedule the appointment.1 They then must provide the registration number to the clinic when they make the appointment for their pet.

Along with these canines, the program will also take puppies of at least 3 months at the time of the exam, but they must already be a part of a recognized, national, or regional non-profit Service Training. If a handler/owner has a formally trained assistance animal that is not a canine, they may also register but must confirm the local ophthalmologist can treat the species.2

Interested parties can learn more on the National Service Animal Eye Exam Event website.


  1. Service and working animals receive free eye exams across the US. News release. American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. April 2, 2024. Accessed April 2, 2024.
  2. Qualifications & Expectations. Service Animal Eye Exam. Accessed April 2, 2024.
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