Sight may not be a dog’s strongest sense, but it still plays an important role in daily life. A dog’s eye health can deteriorate due to aging or illness. Hence, dog owners should be aware of the various eye problems that can arise.
Dr. Lucien Vallone, clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedicine, specializes in ophthalmology and regularly treats canine eye conditions.
According to Vallone, there are three main categories of eye problems in dogs: diseases of the surface of the eye, diseases that cause inflammation in the eye, and glaucoma.
Ocular surface disorders affect the conjunctiva – the mucous membrane over the eye – and the cornea – the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. Vallone said these diseases include corneal inflammation, dry eye, and eyelid abnormalities.
The second category is diseases that cause inflammation in the eye, collectively called uveitis.
“Uveitis is often linked to diseases that systemically affect the dog’s body, such as certain tumors or infections,” Vallone said.
After all, glaucoma occurs when there is increased pressure in the eye that leads to loss of vision. He said this was one of the most common causes of pain and blindness in dogs.
A dog who develops any of these eye conditions will usually have red, squinted eyes with discharge coming from them. If the dog has limited vision, he may also have changed behavior, such as B. reluctance to climb stairs or go outside.
“These signs may be more common at night than during the day,” Vallone said. “These subtleties can help a veterinarian distinguish one cause of vision loss from another.”
If a dog is diagnosed with any of these eye conditions, their veterinarian may recommend medical, surgical, or even complementary therapies. Common supplements are believed to impart beneficial antioxidant effects to the lens and retina in the eye.
“These effects can help delay or prevent several progressive and degenerative diseases of the eye,” Vallone said, but added that more research is needed before these effects can be demonstrated.
He said that many causes of eye discomfort or vision problems are correctable, especially if treated early. If you suspect your dog has eye disorders or see any signs of vision loss, contact a veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Fortunately, when a dog goes blind from aging or an eye disease, it isn’t as severe as some may believe. Dogs are great at navigating with their noses and ears, and they relearn how to do things after they have lost sight.