Eye problems in pets: Cataracts, second in a series of eye health issues

To be able to protect your pet’s vision is often not thought about until it is too late. I always tried to be observant and pro-active in my pet’s health yet keratoconjunctivitis sicca, also known as “dry eye”, snuck up on me and my dog a little over 4 years ago when he was only 8 years old. Since then I have learned more about eye health in dogs than I ever dreamed I would know. Cataracts is a subject I have just learned about.

What causes Cataracts?

Most cataracts in dogs have a hereditary basis. However, cataracts can also result from injury to or inflammation in the eye, or systemic diseases that have an affect on the eyes. Diabetes is the most common disease associated with cataracts in dogs. Although it may be difficult to name the specific cause of cataracts, generally those cataracts that develop in the eyes that are free of signs of disease (whether ocular or systemic) are assumed to be inherited.

Physiology of the eye

The lens is a living ocular tissue that, when healthy, is transparent. A normal lens helps focus the light on the retina, a light sensitive nerve tissue located in the back of the eye. A cataract is an abnormality of the lens in which an opacity, or a cloudy change in the tissue, scatters light. The normal composition of the lens is disrupted and its transparency is lost. If a large portion of the lens becomes a cataract, it prevents formed light from reaching the retina, causing poor vision. A cataract can assume a variety of appearances such as small spots, a cracked-ice appearance, a diffuse milky haze, a “pearl-like” sheen, or white streaks. The cataract may initially affect a small area and progress to involve a larger portion of the lens. The rate of progression is difficult to predict, though it tends to be more rapid in younger animals. Cataracts may develop in one or both eyes.

What is the treatment?

Early examinations are always recommended. A complete eye examination is a necessity. The health of the retina and other parts of the eye must be evaluated prior to the formation of complete cataracts. Sometimes. https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=GVIZ&t=TABLE&q=select+col0%2C+col1%2C+col2+from+1oLGf5T3iLrf_jWrrXp6rLe-08Z2eEu8FUMjWilZD&containerId=googft-gviz-canvas

an electroretinogram is recommended to evaluate the retina. The pet must see a specialist for the evaluation.

If your pet has Dry Eye or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, see a specialist promptly

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