A cataract is a cloudiness in the crystalline lens of the eye, varying from complete to partial opacity. When the lens becomes clouded, it prevents light from passing to the retina, which then causes sight loss.
A large majority of cases are predisposed in breeds. For instance; Miniature poodles, American cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, golden retrievers, Boston terriers, and Siberian huskies all have hereditary links to cataracts.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms typically relate to the degree of vision impairment. Dogs with less than 30 percent lens opacity, for example, display little or no symptoms, whereas those with more than 60 percent opacity of the lens may suffer from loss of vision or have difficulty seeing in dimly lit areas.
Although most cases of cataracts are inherited, the following can also be causes:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Old age
- Electric shock
- Inflammation of the eye’s uvea
- Exposure to radiation or toxic substances
If you should observe cloudiness in one or both of the dog’s eyes, you should organise a an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. They will perform a complete physical examination, focusing on the eyes and ocular region, to determine the severity of the problem.
Ultrasounds are sometimes used to help determine the severity of the issue and may confirm whether surgery is necessary to correct a cataract.
Surgery will often be recommended as the main form of treatment and should be done as soon as possible if your vet believes this is the best route to go down. Cataract is a progressive disorder that, if not treated quickly, may lead to blindness in a dog’s eyes.
Living and Management
The rate of progression of cataracts depends on the underlying cause of the cataract, the location of cataract, and the age of the animal. Prior to surgery your veterinarian will provide you with ophthalmic preparations to be used in the eyes of your dog for up to several weeks until they make a full recovery.