LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The founder of the National Service Animal Vision Project is bringing a free eye exam program to Arkansas.
Ten years ago, Dr. Bill Miller founded a national initiative to assure the vision of service animals by offering free annual eye exams during the month of May.
Dr. Miller, who serves on the board of The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO) recently relocated the base of his practice from Memphis, Tennessee to Little Rock and is the only practicing Veterinary Ophthalmologist in Arkansas.
According to a press release, over 60,000 service animals have received these free screening exams since the program was established in 2008.
To participate in the event, qualified applicants must register through the month of April on the ACVO website. The exams will take place by appointment during the month of May at the Arkansas Veterinary Emergency and Specialists Clinic. It is located at 11619 Pleasant Ridge Road in Little Rock. Dr. Miller and a partner will conduct the exams.
Registration to receive the free eye exams may be carried out directly by the owners or handlers of qualified service animals.
To qualify for ACVO’s free eye exam program, animals must be formally trained, certified, currently working service animals or formally trained therapy animals with proof of active registration. Due to the International Association of Assistance Dogs Partners extensive membership requirements and screening, the ACVO will also permit “current, active Partner Members” of this organization to participate in the program. Those currently enrolled in a formal service animal training program may also qualify.
Qualification paperwork for the training and current work status of the service animal must be provided at the clinic at the time of the exam in addition to the registration number provided in the confirmation email generated by the online registration.
Service animals are classified as animals who help those who need it with guidance, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy and those assisting people with disabilities.
The clinic may have limited availability. The eye exam is not recommended for animals with known eye issues.