Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) Exams
Purebred dogs have inherited eye diseases that can be blinding or affect eye health. In an effort to limit or eradicate genetic ocular diseases, Veterinary Eye Center participates in the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) program. The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) organization collect data on breeding dogs and issues certificates determining a dog's fitness for breeding. The Genetics Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) determines the guidelines for CAER eye certification and regularly evaluates and recommends how dogs should be bred, depending on their eye exam status. CERF is no longer providing data to or working with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
Eye Examination Process
Dogs can receive a CAER Eye Certification examination at their veterinary eye specialist's hospital, or at local CAER Eye Certification clinics that are frequently held at dog shows, general veterinary practices or at breed clubs. Only specialists in veterinary ophthalmology who are Diplomates of the ACVO can do a CAER Eye Certification Registry exam (see FAQs for more information on DACVO).
Dogs can be examined at most ages, ideally when older than 8 weeks of age, and a CAER Eye Certification Registry certificate is valid for 1 year after the examination. Breeding animals should be examined annually, even after they have stopped breeding, in order to look for genetic eye diseases.
Eye exams are done after drops are given to dilate the eyes. The front part of the eye is examined with a slit-lamp biomicroscope and the back part of the eye is examined with lenses and a indirect ophthalmoscope.
The pupils can remain dilated for several hours after the exam, so dogs should be kept out of the bright sunlight for about 4 hours afterwards.
CAER Eye Certification Registry forms
Before the exam, the dog's owner should fill out an Eye Certification application online and specify our hospital. If you filled out a form for previous OFA hip or heart exams, a new application will still need to be filled out for the eyes. The following information will be needed for the form:
1) The owner's name and address
2) The dog's name, breed, birth date, AKC registration number, tattoo or microchip identification number
After the examination, the veterinary ophthalmologist will complete the form and indicate any eye abnormalities. The CAER Eye Certification Registry determines the suitability of each given dog for breeding based on the eye examination findings.
Some genetic eye diseases can appear later in life so annual eye CAER certification is recommended.