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I think my dog has cataracts. Can this condition be treated?
I think that my dog has cataracts. When I look at her eyes, there is a grayish-blue haze. Will she lose her eyesight from this, and can cataracts be removed from her eyes?
Surgical treatment is available.
You should have a veterinarian perform a complete physical exam and an ophthalmology exam to evaluate her eyes. Your veterinarian will determine if she has cataracts, or a condition that occurs normally in older dogs called nuclear sclerosis.
Nuclear sclerosis, a change in the lens of each eye associated with aging, can look like a cataract to the non-veterinarian. However, it is a different condition. With nuclear sclerosis, both eyes have a hazy, grayish-blue color, especially in certain lights. This occurs generally in dogs over six years of age. It results from an increase in the density and size of the lens as the dog ages. This condition does not cause a dog to go blind. No treatment is necessary.
A cataract is an opacity, or whitening, of the lens of the eye. Depending on the stage of the cataract, this can cause partial or complete blindness in the affected eye. There are many different reasons why dogs develop cataracts, including medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus or previous trauma.
If your veterinarian diagnoses cataracts, then surgery can be performed to remove the affected lens. Surgery is best performed as soon as possible, and should be done by a veterinary ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is specially trained in performing eye surgery and can address post-operative complications that may arise, as well as provide optimal after-care. Generally, one eye is surgically corrected at a time.
If you think that your dog may have cataracts or a problem with its vision, then see your veterinarian immediately.
Pages for Michelle Brownstein MS., DVM
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