Stokes has provided myself and my family a level of support and attention to detail unmatched in virtually any other service industry. I have one word for Stokes' level of support and service - excellence.”

– Robert, Cherry Hill, NJ

National Service Animal Eye Exam Event

The 10th Annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam Event will take place in veterinary clinics from May 1-31, 2017. The event was originally prompted by ACVO’s recognition that many of its board-certified ophthalmology specialists were providing free eye exams across the country. By expanding on these individual events and creating the annual event in 2008, the ophthalmologists have been able to perform more than 52,000 free eye exam screenings – 7,400 in 2016 alone.


Highlights from the 2016 Event (click on link below to be taken to cooresponding photos):


Animal Eye Guys - Hollywood, FL

The National Service Dog Eye Exam program aims to give back to animals that give so much to the community. “I think the important thing is, we’re dealing with dogs that are out working for people — the police dogs, the service dogs, the therapy dogs,” said Dr. Rob Swinger, a veterinary ophthalmologist. “They’re going to the courts and working with children. They’re going to the nursing home and working with adults, hospitals with the sick".



BluePearl Sandy Springs Georgia

“This program is an amazing way to give something back to these working animals,” said Dr. Andrew. “The ACVO/Merial event has personally opened my eyes to the wonderful work these animals and their handlers do. I love that these dogs are healthy and ready to get back to work!”

Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services

They say eyes are windows to the soul. And for service animals, the eyes are more than a glimpse into the gentle soul of these hardworking creatures - they're a critical tool they use to perform their work, whether they're serving as K-9 officers patrolling the city streets, working as Diabetic Alert Dogs or working in countless other service fields.

NorthStar Veterinary Emergency Trauma & Specialty Center

Peggy Breuninger and her Great Dane, Alma, sat in the waiting room of NorthStar VETS in Maple Shade awaiting their eye appointment with Dr. Vygantas. Alma is a service and therapy dog and works with autistic children, and also visits hospices and hospitals. But on this day, they were at NorthStar VETS for the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO) National Service Animal Eye Exams event. Dr. Vygantas explained, “The ACVO has put together a service event that’s nationwide where the diplomates of the college donate their time and services to examine pets and animals that are working in a service capacity to help people who are disadvantaged, or disabled in other capacities. We do an eye exam to ensure that the eyes are healthy and that they are able to perform their duty in the best way possible.”

University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

Judy Thigpin, who owns Kylee, Jurnee and Ryker, said it's normally too expensive for her to have all three of her dog's eyes examined by a certified ophthalmologist, whi can detect eye problems that a general veterinarian can't.

Over the years, Thigpin has helped train at least 100 search-and-rescue dogs. She raised and trained Kylee, Jurnee and Ryker from a young age. Jurnee and Ryker specialize in helping law enforcement find human remains, while Kylee frequently searches for lost children and Alzheimer's patients.


The University of Georgia Teaching Hospital


"Service animals play a vital role in their owners' lives, and we want to be sure they can continue to carry out their jobs," said Dr. Kate Myrna, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at UGA. "We gladly take part in this event to care for the animals and owners alike."

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

PennVet Working Dog Center offered free eye examinations for dogs in training. Vet experts were checking for any problems like early cataracts, cloudy corneas, squinting, retinal disease, etc.

"We're trying to get these dogs screened for things that may go undetected that would effect their ability to work in the future," said Dr. Brady Beale with PennVet Working Dog Center.

Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware

Dr. Wotman and ophthalmology nurse, Brooke, traveled to Brenford Animal Hospital in Dover, Delaware to examine the eyes of six Delmarva Search and Rescue Group horses. DSRG is a professional, volunteer organization comprised of military, fire/rescue, medical/EMS, police/corrections, and civilian trained responders all working toward preserving life when the odds are stacked against the victim.



Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center

Dr. Shelby Reinstein of VSEC VETS loves giving back to the service and therapy dogs in her community to ensure their eyes are healthy. This year she partnered up with the Roxy Reading Therapy Dogs to provide their eye exams.

Roxy Reading is a donation dependent organization whose registered pet therapy teams promote literacy in schools, deliver comfort to children navigating the court system, bring relief to young victims of violent crimes, and support to pediatric patients and medically fragile kids residing in group homes.