Nuclear Sclerosis in Dogs

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    As your dog ages, a blue haze in his eyes may be a sign of nuclear sclerosis.

    As your dog ages, a blue haze in his eyes may be a sign of nuclear sclerosis.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    As you look into the eyes of your senior dog, you may notice a slight change in eye color. Those once bright eyes may have developed a bluish-gray haze, or a condition known as nuclear sclerosis. Nuclear sclerosis, or lenticular sclerosis, is a normal part of the canine aging process, though it often raises concern in canine parents. Because of the cloudy haze, glaucoma or cataracts are often suspected and many dog owners worry about vision loss.

    Nuclear Sclerosis

    Unlike cataracts or glaucoma, nuclear sclerosis does not affect your dog’s vision. Throughout your dog’s life, he constantly produces new lens fibers. As your dog ages, these fibers harden, creating the bluish haze that develops on the eye. It typically presents around 6 to 8 years of age and occurs bilaterally, or in both eyes.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    If you notice a change in your dog’s eyes, consult your veterinarian immediately. Because there is no way to tell the difference between cataracts and nuclear sclerosis with the naked eye, special tests are necessary to confirm diagnosis. Once the veterinarian determines the haze is nuclear sclerosis, no treatment is necessary because the condition does not cause any compromise to your dog’s vision.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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