Screening Scheme Description

Eye testing

Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)

How can I get my dogs eyes tested?

Eye testing should be done under the KC/BVA/ISDS Eye Scheme or the ECVO Scheme.

BVA/KC/ ISDS Eye Scheme

The BVA/KC/International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) Eye Scheme offers breeders the opportunity of screening for inherited eye disease by examination of the eye. Breeders can use the information obtained from the examination to eliminate or reduce the frequency of eye disease being passed on to puppies.

Examination under the Eye Scheme is not restricted to the identification of inherited eye disease, but also includes general assessment of the health of the eye and adnexa (eyelids, tear ducts and other parts around the eye ball).

How do I get my dog's eyes tested?

Panellists appointed by the British Veterinary Association can carry out eye tests and can issue certificates under the scheme. Owners make an appointment with one of the eye panellists directly, or through their own veterinary surgeon. Often, Breed Clubs will arrange for a BVA panellist to attend their shows. This enables many dogs to be examined on one occasion at a reduced rate.

Owners of Kennel Club registered dogs must have the relevant documents with them at the time of testing to qualify for an eye test under the scheme. Wherever possible, any previous eye certificates issued for the dog should also be provided.

The panellist will examine the dog, issue an eye certificate and inform the owner of the result at the time of examination. Copies of the certificate are distributed to the owner, the owner’s veterinary surgeon, the BVA and the examining eye panellist.

When is it best to have my dog examined?

For those breeds in which inherited disease can be detected soon after birth (congenital and neonatal disease) it may be advisable to screen the puppies as part of a litter and litter screening is usually carried out at between six and twelve weeks of age.

Breeding dogs should be examined under the eye scheme within 12 prior to mating; especially the many breeds in which inherited eye disease can develop later in life. A final examination, at reduced cost, should take place in all dogs that have been used for breeding when they have reached eight years of age.

Which inherited conditions may affect my breed?

For the breeds with known inherited eye diseases (previously described on Schedule A), a certificate is issued indicating the dog is either "clinically affected" or "clinically unaffected" and these results are recorded and published by the Kennel Club. Many other potentially inherited conditions are also being assessed and the information gathered from routine eye examinations is collated and analysed from "sighting reports" (completed by the eye panellist). In this way, any emerging inherited condition can be detected early and dealt with properly before it becomes more widespread. Once the inherited nature of the condition has been confirmed it is moved onto a list of inherited eye disease. Similarly if a condition is not noted in the breed for at least five years it may be removed from this list.

Current list of known inherited eye diseases can be found below

For more information on the BVA/KC eye scheme, visit

ECVO Eye scheme

In addition to the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme the Kennel Club now also record the ECVO (European College of Veterinary Opthalmologists) Eye Scheme.

The ECVO Eye Scheme was established in 1998 and covers 14 inherited eye conditions in dogs. Dogs are classified as unaffected, affected or suspicious. However, it also includes a general examination of the eye and adnexa, so it may reveal other (not inherited) eye diseases as well.

In general, the best age for eye testing is before a dog has reached one year old and thereafter on an annual basis. However, in some breeds, it is necessary to test them as young puppies (usually between six and twelve weeks of age) and so details of litter screening are also included in the literature although results of litter screening are not published.

How do I get my dog's eyes tested under the Scheme?

The Scheme is according to the ECVO protocol, by an ECVO diplomate, click here to find the ECVO diplomates in the UK. Partial or preliminary examinations are not permitted. Gonioscopy may be completed as an additional examination. A certificate is issued upon completion of the examination.

Details of all lesions and conditions found at the time of examination, whether relating to hereditary eye disease or not, are recorded in the descriptive comments section in the middle of the Certificate using drawings and/or written remarks.

It is recommended that “suspicious” cases, after the prescribed period, are re-examined by the National Panel or Chief Panellist, whose decision will be final.

Alternatively, re-examination of cases previously found "suspicious" can be done by the first examiner or another Panellist.

Where can I get more information?

Additional details can be found at


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