Dr. Jane Ashley Huey is Memphis’ eye doctor to the animals


The future Dr. Jane Ashley Huey’s first affected person on her first day of medical rotation in veterinary college was, she stated, “my private horse,” 1 / 4 horse named Lady, which was discovered to be affected by an “contaminated melting corneal ulcer.”

“‘Melting’ is a legit phrase in ophthalmology,” Huey stated. It is used to describe a situation during which a bacterial an infection softens and destroys the cornea.

Huey had introduced Lady together with her to Auburn University “to journey in my quote-unquote spare time, of which there wasn’t a lot.”

“She was a member of the family,” stated Huey, who was 27 at the time and had identified Lady for 20 years.

Veterinarians saved the horse, however the traumatic episode supplied Huey with a imaginative and prescient for her profession.

Dr. Jane Huey poses for a portrait at Memphis Veterinary Specialists, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Cordova.

Huey, 37, is a rarity: an animal eye doctor. She is the solely such specialist licensed by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in the Memphis area. Her nearest friends are in Nashville, Little Rock, St. Louis and Starkville.

“Who knew there was a cat ophthalmologist?” stated Randy Blevins, who took his beloved Russian Blue “rental kitty,” Charlotte, to see Dr. Huey after the cat started utilizing her whiskers like curb crawlers to navigate round furnishings and displaying different signs of blurred imaginative and prescient.

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Huey’s analysis was a lifesaver, actually: Charlotte — “a delicate, affectionate cat,” in accordance to Blevins — was affected by hypertension, which was inflicting the 13-year-old cat’s retinas to detach. A prescription of each day treatment reversed the course of, whereas additionally stopping the different medical crises that may accompany hypertension.

As a outcome, “She’s again to being a standard cat,” stated Blevins, who adopted Charlotte from the West Memphis Animal Rescue and gave her what he thought of an old-school identify as a result of “she had type of a Twenties artwork deco look. Sleek.” 

Dr. Jane Huey and Veterinary Assistant Mollie Vance examine Charlotte's eyes at Memphis Veterinary Specialists, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Cordova.

“She’s bouncy, she’s received extra power,” Blevins stated Monday, as Charlotte obtained a checkup from Huey, who wielded varied intimidating instruments of her veterinary ophthalmological commerce.

She projected beams of sunshine from a “slit lamp” to peer deep into the inside of Charlotte’s eyes. She donned a retro-futurist-looking “oblique ophthalmoscopy” headset to study the cat’s retinas and optic nerves. A “tonometer” shot out a tiny innocent probe that examined the stress of the eyeball the method a toddler’s finger would possibly push towards a balloon.

Cats have superior night time and movement imaginative and prescient (useful for pouncing on scurrying mice) as a result of their eyes comprise extra of the cells often known as “rods” than do the eyes of human beings. In comparability, the human eye comprises extra “cones,” which differentiate colours. 

Dr. Jane Huey inspects Charlotte's eyes using a technique called indirect ophthalmoscopy, Memphis Veterinary Specialists, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Cordova.

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Another night-vision asset for a lot of animals is a membranous layer in the again of the eye often known as the “tapetum lucidum” — Latin for “vivid tapestry.” Like a mirror, this layer bounces again mild, which allows the animal to see higher in the darkish and offers cat eyes their signature mysterious and hypnotic glow.