Annual Event Gives Free Eye Exams to Service and Working Animals



Board certified veterinary ophthalmologists across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are preparing to provide more than 7,500 service and working animals with free eye exams during the month of May as part of The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO)’s 11th annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event.


The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists is an approved veterinary specialty organization of the American Board of Veterinary Specialties that board certifies veterinarians as ophthalmologists. The organization developed the ACVO/StokesRX National Service Animal Eye Exam event in 2008, and since its inception, nearly 60,000 service and working animals have received free screening eye exams — including approximately 7,500 in 2017 during the 10th Anniversary event. 


Around 300 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico will donate their time and resources to provide free screening exams to service and working animals in May. In addition to dogs, other service or working animals including horses, miniature horses, donkeys, alpacas and cats can receive free sight-saving exams.


The goal of the ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event is to provide as many free screening exams as possible to eligible service and working animals. The following types of working or service animals may qualify: guide, handicapped assistance, detection, military, search and rescue and current, registered therapy animals.


This year’s event is sponsored by ACVO and Stokes Pharmacy, as well as several generous industry sponsors. Participating board certified ophthalmologists volunteer their services, staff and facilities at no charge for service and working animals and their owners/agents to participate in the event.



To qualify, service and working animals must be “active working animals” that have been trained through a formal program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. The training organization could be national, regional or local in nature. More qualification details are available here. Owners/agents for the animal(s) must FIRST register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1st at Registration ends April 30th. Once registered online, the owner/agent will receive a registration number and will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists. Then, they may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment, which will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so owners/agents are encouraged to register and make appointments early.


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