When a dog has healthy eyes, the lenses are clear and their vision is clear as well. As they get older, however, some dogs begin to develop a problem with cataracts. This issue causes the lens to become foggy and can lead to blurry vision. In some dogs, it may be little more than a nuisance but in others, it can be a serious problem that requires attention by a veterinarian.
Cataracts do come in various sizes and they tend to grow as time goes on. They might start off relatively small and don’t have too much of an effect on the vision of the dog. It is important to watch them carefully, however, because the cataract can become more dense and thick as time goes by. In fact, it can even get to the point where the cataract could cause blindness in the dog.
Most of us are familiar with cataracts because we likely know somebody that has experienced them in their life. In humans, cataracts are often associated with old age and it may also be a problem with an older dog as well. They can also develop for a number of other reasons, however, including diseases, trauma or genetic conditions that are passed down through the family line. In some cases, a dog may even have a cataract when they are born or it may begin to develop at a very young age. Diabetes in dogs has also led to the development of cataracts in some cases.
Typically, you will be able to determine that a cataract is forming on the eye of your dog. You simply need to look at their eyes and check for any bluish gray cloudiness that exists. If you notice that there is any cloudiness or if the color is not what it should be, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order. It should be noted, however, that a condition known as nuclear sclerosis can also lead to cloudy eyes but it is not as serious of a problem as cataracts.
If cataracts are not treated properly, it could lead to blindness as they eventually get large enough that it would block their vision. They may also float in the eye and lodge in an area that blocks the drainage of fluid. This could lead to glaucoma, which can also cause blindness.
Once a cataract has been diagnosed and if it is likely to cause problems, there may be some steps that can reduce the issue and keep your dog from losing his vision. Surgery is the most common treatment, in which the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens that is either acrylic or plastic. This tends to have a relatively high rate of success but your veterinarian will need to make a determination if your dog is a good candidate for the procedure.