(Hampton Roads, Va., May 4, 2016) – May is National Service Dog Eye Examination Month, and many board-certified diplomats of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists will offer free screenings for these hard-working and caring animals. One local veterinary ophthalmology practice, the Animal Vision Center of Virginia (AVCVA), feels so strongly about the importance of healthy eyes for these pets, they perform free exams for qualified service animals all year. “The screenings allow us to detect signs of ocular disease early so that therapy can be administered as soon as possible,” said Dr. Heather Brookshire, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist who owns and operates the AVCVA. “This early detection allows them to keep up their important work without missing a beat.” Trained to perform tasks to assist people with visual, hearing and medical impairments, service and working dogs also help police and military units sniff out drugs, assist in searchand-rescue operations and comfort patients in therapeutic scenarios. Last year, AVCVA held free ocular screenings over a two-day span on 16 police dogs and 12 patrol horses with the City of Virginia Beach Police and Sheriff’s Departments. In addition, Brookshire and her staff have seen a wide range of service animals in their Virginia Beach office, since it opened last fall at 521 Old Great Neck Road. To qualify for the exam, service animals must be active working animals that are certified by a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program. For more information about the referral process, or to schedule a screening, call 757-749-4838 or visit animalvisioncenterva.com.