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What is cataract? Is it a cataract in my dog's eye?

Tue, Oct. 11, 2016 Posted: 11:31 PM


Just like a camera, eyes also contain clear lenses inside them and this lens help in focusing. A cataract is an opacity within the lens. This opacity can be small and might not interfere with your vision. However, sometimes, it can cause more problem in vision. Eventually, the entire lens will become cloudy, and the functional vision gets lost. This is called as Mature Cataract. Some of these cataracts become hypermature cataracts. This reduces in size due to loss of water and protein in the lens which in return causes the lens capsule to wrinkle and shrivel. Hypermature cataract varies in their cloudy appearance and some of them have clarity in between. Depending on the dog’s age and breed, it can take several months to years for a mature cataract to turn into a hyper mature cataract.

What is not a cataract?
The normal geriatric dog usually develops a hardening of the lens that causes the lens to get a grayish appearance. The gray-blue haze keeps on increasing with the age of the dog. Nuclear Sclerosis is not cataract and it usually does not interfere with the vision. This problem also occurs in humans and the hardening of the lens with increasing age results in reduced near vision in people and that's why most of the people in their 40s starting wearing reading glasses. It is because their lenses are no more soft to change to allow the vision to near object.

Another name for this problem is called as presbyopia which literally means Old Eye. Dogs usually do not have a good near vision as compared to humans and thus, nuclear sclerosis does not interfere with the near vision. Now the question is how you will tell the difference between the cataract and nuclear sclerosis in your dog? The simple answer is No, you cant. You can, however, start the evaluation through some veterinarian. However, it is an ophthalmologist to differentiate between the condition.

A veterinary ophthalmologist can differentiate between the two problems using specialized equipment and their expertise. You need to keep in mind that a dog can also develop both nuclear sclerosis and cataract that is not a new thing. Dogs can adapt well if they have one eye vision but then it might be a little problem for you and them both. Often the owner does not realize that the dog cannot see out of their one eye. Therefore, regular medical checkups are necessary. Dogs tend to develop memory map so as to know where the familiar things are and they do not let their owners know that they are dealing with vision problems.

Being best friends to human, they should be cared of as dearly as any other member in home and proper treatment for this problems must be provided to them.

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Lynn Joesph