Dr. Carmen Colitz has a passion for helping animals which exudes not only from her work as one of the world’s leading veterinary ophthalmologists, but also at her home that she shares with nine pets.
“My career journey naturally evolved. In vet school, I knew I wanted to practice ophthalmology, and I was inspired by the practice of cataract surgery and the positive outcomes I saw in animals,” she says. “Since then, I have been singularly focused on improving the eye health of dogs, cats and also of marine mammals through both research and clinical work.”
Dr. Colitz earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and a Ph.D. in Comparative and Experimental Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1993 and 1996, respectively. Her research involved the study of ocular embryology and molecular biology of cancer. She became a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist in 1999. During her residency training, Dr. Colitz completed a one-year post-doctoral research project and successfully competed for a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health Eye Institute.
Dr. Colitz worked for two years at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, and then spent five years at The Ohio State University’s veterinary teaching hospital as a clinician and researcher. Dr. Colitz discovered telomerase (a cancer protein) in the normal and cataractous lens, and researched the molecular biology of cataractogenesis and posterior capsular opacification (PCO). PCO is the leading post-operative complication of cataract surgery and over the past eleven years, her research has centered on molecular approaches to prevent this post-operative complication. She was also involved in research to evaluate lutein and grapeseed extract as well as other antioxidants in their anti-cataractogenic and anti-PCO effects. Dr. Colitz’s additional research interests include corneal wound healing, infectious diseases and ocular cancers. Dr Colitz has written or co-written over 60 peer reviewed publications and 19 book chapters and is Past-President of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Colitz has worked with numerous animal species and has performed thousands of ophthalmologic surgeries on both companion pets, marine mammals, and other exotic species, including eels. In 2009, she founded Aquatic Animal Eye Care, LLC. Aquatic Animal Eye Care’s mission was to understand and improve the ocular diseases that affect marine mammals, penguins and fishes both under human care and in the wild. She has performed over 200 cataract extractions in seals and sea lions, allowing them to return to more productive and enriched lives. She has authored or co-authored 8 manuscripts and one book chapter specifically about pinnipeds and their eye problems. Other large-scale multi-facility projects are presently underway and will be published in the near future. Recently, she has also been involved in the formulation of natural supplements to support eye health in both canines and marine mammals.
In 2006, Dr. Colitz began collaborating with Dr. Terri McCalla, a fellow board certified veterinary ophthalmologist, and Debby Smith, chemist and compounding pharmacist, in the development of an innovative vision supplement for canines. The team formed Animal HealthQuest, LLC as a company dedicated to providing unique, high quality nutritional supplements for domestic animals to improve the quality of life for pets and their owners. In 2010, Animal HealthQuest introduced its first product, Ocu-GLO RxTM, to the market. Ocu-GLO Rx is the first ocular supplement specifically designed to meet the needs of canine eyes. It combines 12 different natural antioxidants including grapeseed extract, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids to synergistically support canine eye health and may help slow the progression of degenerative eye diseases. To learn more about Ocu-GLO RxTM, go to www.ocuglo.com.
Dr. Colitz also worked with Dr. Johanna Mejia-Fava in the development of Eye-SEATM, a pharmaceutical grade nutraceutical specifically formulated for marine mammal eye support. The 10 different antioxidants in Eye-SEATM support all structures of the eye in specific and non-specific ways.
Dr. Carmen Colitz is a Consulting Veterinarian for Animal Necessity, LLC.