If you're getting the nagging feeling that your pooch's eyesight is deteriorating, cataracts could be the cause. If a dog has cataracts, it means that his eye lens has taken on a misty quality, which can trigger vision loss. For some dogs with cataracts surgery can bring back vision.
If you're noticing the signs of cataracts in your dog, bring him to see a veterinarian immediately. Some common indications of cataracts include inordinate squinting, running into objects and furnishings around the household and the eyes taking on an unusual white, bluish or grayish tinge. Some dogs experience cataracts in both eyes, while others in just one. Although color irregularities are prevalent in dogs with cataracts, subtle shifts in color -- or nuclear sclerosis -- can denote normal aging.
If your pooch has cataracts, your vet can send you to a veterinarian who specializes in ophthalmology. Owners of dogs who are facing reduced vision -- and eventual blindness -- often opt for surgery, which in some cases can revert eyesight back to its prior abilities.
The goal of cataract surgery in canines generally is to extract the problematic lens, or lenses. General anesthesia is employed for the procedure. Once the troubled lenses are out, they are replaced with new lenses made out of acrylic or plastic. After surgery, it's up to a dog's owners to watch after them and help them recuperate. This could involve anything from administering eyedrops to restricting exercise and movement in general.
All dogs are different, but dogs who just had cataract surgery tend to experience some noticeable strengthening of their eyesight in the span of just a day or so. As far as seeing well, that often takes a little bit longer -- say two to three weeks post-surgery.
- Michigan Veterinary Specialists: Cataracts
- Animal Eye Clinic: Cataract Surgery
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Cataract Surgery
- ASPCA: Cataracts
- AKC Canine Health Foundation: Cataracts
- The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health; Cynthia M. Kahn and Scott Line
- Animal Eye Care: Cataracts in Dogs
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images