Ophthalmology Department

What is veterinary ophthalmology?

Animal eye care is all we do. Your family veterinarian has entrusted his/her cherished clients and their beloved pets to us in order to solve and hopefully resolve their pets’ ocular condition. The ophthalmology department at Long Island Veterinary Specialists uses advanced methods to diagnose and to treat eye conditions in all animal species.  Just like you going to your own ophthalmologist, we use the same examination techniques and equipment available at human hospitals.

By providing improved ocular health, our goal is to improve the quality of life for pets and their human families. We are an extension of your family veterinarian, supplying extended specialized services not available at their local animal hospitals in our convenient referral center. While early ocular diseases and minor conditions can be managed appropriately in the care of your pet’s primary care veterinarian, more serious conditions like blindness, glaucoma, ocular tumors, complicated corneal ulcers, ocular trauma, and cataracts need the expertise of a veterinary ophthalmologist. Early recognition and timely treatment are important to restore sight, to minimize pain and to offer the best patient eye care for our patients. A Long Island native, Dr. John Sapienza, is the first full-time veterinary ophthalmologist to serve Long Island and the Greater New York area since 1993.


Our state-of-the-art surgical suite is equipped with advanced ophthalmic surgical and anesthesia equipment. Our goal is to provide the most current and the most successful therapeutic options. Our ophthalmology nursing team includes licensed veterinary technicians with over 15 years of ophthalmic experience. We strive to offer cutting edge diagnostic and surgical options. We work closely with your family veterinarian as well as other members of our hospital team of specialists in a collaborative effort to address all aspects of our patients’ medical and surgical needs.


Common issues for a veterinary ophthalmologist:

Commonly diagnosed conditions include: corneal ulcers, corneal infections, dry eye condition, eyelid abnormalities, uveitis, glaucoma, blindness, and cataract formation. A comprehensive ophthalmic examination includes the testing of tear production, intraocular pressure evaluation, and corneal fluorescein staining. We utilize a portable slit-lamp microscope to examine the front of the eye, and an indirect ophthalmoscope is used to evaluate the retina and optic nerve. Often the clients remark that this examination is just like the one that they receive from their own family ophthalmologist. Dr. Sapienza’s special interests include cataract surgery with phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implants, glaucoma implants and endolaser glaucoma therapy. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure at our referral center. Electroretinography (or ERG) and ocular ultrasound are performed prior to surgery to ensure that the retinal health is adequate for vision.


Uncommon issues:

In addition to the common eye diseases discussed above, we examine and treat both unusual eye conditions in an array of animal species. On a typical clinic day at LIVS, we can see not only companion dogs and cats, but rabbits, birds and horses with a multitude of ocular diseases. Unusual presentations of eye cases might include ocular trauma, corneal and uncommon orbital foreign bodies, and unusual presentation of systemic metabolic and infectious processes. From treating injured wildlife for the many conservation societies on Long Island, serving the many rescue organizations on Long Island to treating the famous “Ashley” owned by Regis and Joy Philbin, we have had the great pleasure of serving our Long Island community for almost 20 years.



When its necessary to admit a pet to LIVS, our Specialists and staff work closely with your primary care veterinarian to assure that the pet receives the highest level of care. Our staff  will remain in touch with you throughout your pet's stay and be in constant contact with your family Vet to ensure a continuum of care.

To arrange admission please call 516 501-1700


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After Hours:  Should a problem arise after normal business hours, all departments are covered by the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center at Long Island Veterinary Specialists. It is always best to call in advance when possible, however, if problems arise, do not hesitate to bring your pet in immediately. This facility is staffed 24-hours by veterinarians and technicians ready to assist you and your pet.