[nagdu] Fw: The Seeing Eye Ensures Canine Visual Health with Computerized Electroretinography

Margo and Arrow margo.downey at verizon.net
Thu Apr 7 01:58:02 UTC 2011

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "The Seeing Eye, Inc." <noreply at seeingeye.org>
To: "Margo Downey" <margo.downey at verizon.net>
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 3:12 PM
Subject: The Seeing Eye Ensures Canine Visual Health with Computerized 

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Barlak
(973) 539-4425
mbarlak at seeingeye.org

April 6, 2011

The Seeing Eye Ensures Canine Visual Health with Computerized 
Guide Dog School Is First to Install State of the Art Retinal Assessment 

MORRISTOWN, N.J.—A Seeing Eye® dog becomes the eyes of its owner. To ensure 
those eyes are healthy, The Seeing Eye has become the first guide dog school 
in the nation to employ a new generation digital electroretinograph that has 
been custom-designed to check the retinas of all dogs in the school’s 
breeding program.

The electroretinograph (ERG) measures the retina’s response to light. In 
1992, The Seeing Eye became the first guide dog school to employ 
electroretinography as a means of screening for retinal disease. From then 
until recently, responses appeared on an older model analog oscilloscope on 
which was hung a specialized instant film camera which recorded the ERG 
tracings. Measurements were painstakingly made by placing an acetate grid 
over the photos and measuring via magnifying glass to the nearest 0.3 mm.

A laptop and customized software, purchased through a grant from the Bernice 
Barbour Foundation and designed and assembled with the assistance of a 
University of Pennsylvania team, is the 21st century answer to the 
oscilloscope. “The old equipment was becoming outdated, but the final straw 
was the discontinuation of instant film. The grant couldn’t have come at a 
better time,” said Seeing Eye Attending Veterinarian and Director of Canine 
Medicine & Surgery, Dr. Dolores Holle. “We are proud to continue our role as 
innovators and leaders in the guide dog movement through the use of new and 
improved diagnostic equipment that will help keep our dogs by their handlers’ 
sides for as long as possible.”

The information gained in early ERG screenings also assisted Gustavo 
Aguirre, V.M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in his research 
into Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a genetic disease which leads to blindness 
in dogs and his eventual identification of the actual gene that caused the 
defect. Dr. Aguirre, who served 12 years on The Seeing Eye’s Board of 
Trustees and headed its Canine Committee, continues to volunteer his 
expertise to The Seeing Eye by evaluating every ERG that is performed.

“The new equipment was much needed,” said Dr. Aguirre. “The new software, 
with its zoom, point and click capabilities allows for much more precise 
measurement. The whole process has been streamlined.”

Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs 
to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye® dog users experience greatly 
enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active 
lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a philanthropy supported by 
contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and 
other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the 
dogs bred and trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, N.J. If you 
would like more information on The Seeing Eye, please visit the website at 
www.SeeingEye.org, email info at seeingeye.org or call (973) 539-4425.


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Address: 10 Washington Valley Road, Morristown, NJ, 07960

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