Does sunlight make your eyes sore so that you need to reach for dark glasses whenever you go out in the sun? Do you usually squint or hold your eyes close when you are exposed to bright lights? This condition is known as photophobia. Light sensitivity or intolerance to lights is a fairly common eye condition not only in humans but in dogs as well. A dog owner noticing the squinting eyes of the dog may be amused thinking that the pet is trying to be cute. But the dog may have light sensitivity. Squinting eyes as well as discharge is an indication that all is not well with the eyes of the pet.
Given the dog’s inability to talk, it would not be easy to know if the pet is in pain. Dogs in pain have the inclination to be reclusive. The dog would instinctively withdraw from the company of the human family. Due to eye discomfort, the pet will be noticed to have decreased appetite, to be less playful and may even manifest an aggressive behavior. A pet owner has to be very observant to see the subtle change in behavior. Light sensitivity would be an annoyance that will make a significant impact on the active lifestyle of the dog. We know how energetic dogs are. Our four legged friends would love nothing more than to roam freely – .to chase real and imaginary prey. Dogs love to bask in the sun. A dog with photophobia however would have a negative reaction to bright lights. By the way the dog would avoid bright lights you would think that the pet is a member of the Cullen family in the Twilight saga.
Photophobia or light sensitivity in canines can be due to a number of causes. Although this condition is commonly triggered by an eye problem, other causes are not related to an eye concern. Photophobia that is accompanied by discharge can be due to a damaged cornea. Abrasions and ulcers are painful because of the rich supply of nerves in the cornea. Damage to the clear membrane of the eye can result from a trauma in the face of the dog. Corneal damage seldom happens to both eyes. The dog may be experiencing light sensitivity only in one eye. Conjunctivitis is another reason for the dog’s intolerance to bright lights. The inflammation or the infection of the tissues thin clear membrane that lines the eyelids and cover the eyeball can cause immense discomfort. Conjunctivitis that usually occurs in both eyes creates immense discomfort as aside from the pain the eyes would have a gritty feeling. Conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, by foreign objects in the eyes that result to infection. Yellowish and greenish discharge and sensitivity to lights are the common symptoms of this eye problem.
The dog’s photophobia can be due to medical concerns. Distemper and meningitis have headache, fever, red eyes and blurry vision as symptoms. Both conditions would also cause sensitivity to lights. Dogs are voracious eaters. The pet may have eaten a non-food object that has crashed on the soft tissues at the back of the dog’s mouth resulting to an abscess that obstruct the functions of the nervous tissues. This condition is not very common; nevertheless, it can result to the dog’s sensitivity to light. The sensitivity to light and the squinting can be the dog’s way of self healing. However, it would still be important to give the dog the necessary medical treatment. The vision of the dog is very important. Time is of the essence to prevent this important asset from being lost. Taking the pet to a vet or to an eye specialist can determine the cause of the problem and subsequently the appropriate management can be given.