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Reasons for vision loss in dogs

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Posted on October 07 2018

Irritable in some dogs, can be treated and curbed in others, the loss of vision is experienced differently from one case to another. Age, diseases and trauma are among the leading causes of weakening of sight in dogs.

As with all living things, vision loss in dogs is a bit like hearing loss . It can be favored by various factors, such as old age , illness or an accident . The first signs of this decline in ocular faculties are not always perceptible. However, it is essential to act early to reduce the impact of this regression by administering the necessary treatments.

In some cases vision loss is an inevitable and irreversible phenomenon , while in others, it is quite possible to solve this problem, at least in part. The causes are varied, as are the methods of care and the expected results.


The cataract appears mainly in the older dog , starting around 7 or 8 years old. It is characterized by the gradual opacification of the lens , this lens to adjust the near and far sight of the dog. When it is caused by the aging of the crystalline lens, it is called senile cataract .

This is a common phenomenon related to age. When it has progressed a great deal, it gives rise to the formation of a white veil on the lens and the pupil. Nevertheless, it is a bluish reflection of the lens that is observed at the beginning of the degeneration. Little by little, the dog will lose his visual abilities , especially in low light. Outside the house where he has his bearings, it displays a hesitant approach and has more and more difficult to avoid some obstacles outside.

It is therefore strongly recommended to take it to the veterinarian so that he can examine it closely and make a first diagnosis, before referring you to another specialist if necessary.

If it is unavoidable in many old dogs, cataract can be treated if it is done soon enough. In most cases, the goal of treatment is to slow the degeneration of the lens by administering specific medications and dietary supplements to the animal.

The surgery can also be considered, but it is ruled out when the dog is too old, because of the risks associated with the anesthesia.


Another eye disease that reduces the visual ability of the dog, glaucoma is an increase in intraocular pressure . It causes degeneration of the optic nerve and retina. It can be caused by anterior uveitis (endo-ocular inflammation inside the eye), dislocation of the lens or malformation at the iridocorneal angle.

Glaucoma can be painful for the dog. It can also be manifested by an increase in the volume of the eyeball or a strong redness.

Retinal detachment

The detachment of the retina may be of hereditary origin , occurring in breeds with a predisposition such as the Collie , for example. It may also be the result of another condition, such as scleral injury, blood hyperviscosity, or high blood pressure.

The detachment of the retina corresponds, in fact, to that of the two layers of the retina . The affected eye does not become functional anymore. In the case of prolonged detachment, this disease is irreversible . Otherwise, it can be treated if it is taken care of early.

Progressive retinal atrophy

The progressive retinal atrophy , or ARP, is a hereditary disease of the retina, since it is characterized by the degeneration of photoreceptors . Cockers , Tibetan Terriers and Poodles are among the breeds predisposed to PRA.

Initially, it results in a loss of night vision in the dog from one to five years. It then gradually tends to total blindness . There is still no effective treatment for progressive retinal atrophy.

Other diseases causing vision loss

There are several other conditions that can cause vision loss in dogs. These may be eye tumors . These are likely to reach any component of the eye and may be malignant. The possibility of medical management of the tumor depends on its nature and its stage of advancement.

Another example is the endophthalmitis among the diseases responsible for visual impairments. This intraocular infection is often produced by trauma or a perforating ulcer that damages the cornea . Antibiotic treatment may alleviate the impact on the eyesight and health of the dog, but it becomes inoperative in case of infection associated with generalized intraocular suppuration.

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