Causes of eye cloudiness in dogs

April 13, 2012

The eyes of dogs, similar to human eyes, are very delicate organs. An eyelash that gets into your eyes makes you very uncomfortable. The same thing is true with your dog. The only difference is that the dog cannot tell you about the situation. This is one of the instances when we would wish that the dog can talk. Dogs are noted for their powerful vision. A dog’s ability to see well in the dark coupled with its ultra sensitive scenting ability is what makes us sleep soundly. However, Fido’s vision gets impaired too. Vets tend to prioritize cases concerning the eye of the dog given that any eye condition can result to permanent loss of vision. One of these canine eye problems is eye cloudiness.

The lens of a normal eye should be clear and translucent to be able to focus and transmit light into the retina situated at the back of the eye. However, vision related problems can develop causing eye cloudiness. The cloudiness can be an indication of an underlying health concern or a serious eye problem. Cloudiness can affect three parts of the eyes – the cornea which is the outermost layer that covers the iris, the lens and the fluid media in the front chamber of the eye. If the dog can talk, your pet would complain about the “film” that seems to cover its eyes.

Corneal scarring, corneal infection or corneal infiltrative inflammatory diseases can be the cause for the cloudiness that reduces the transparency of the cornea. The cloudiness can be the result of bacteria, fungi or yeast infection. Dogs are highly energetic animals. The cornea could have been scratched while the dog is playing or hunting. The cornea could have been injured while the dog is trailing its prey.

Cataract is another cause of lens opacity. In most cases, cataract in dogs is associated with genetics. Some breeds of dogs are highly susceptible to this kind of eye ailment. Cataract that is present at birth is common in Poodles and in Cocker Spaniels. This eye condition can be acquired as well. The cloudy film can grow over the lens after an injury, as result of a nutritional deficiency or a complication that is associated with diabetes or with other disease. Cataract can develop spontaneously in older dogs. Senile cataract is commonly diagnosed in dogs six years or older of age.

Senile cataract is different from nuclear sclerosis although these types of eye cloudiness are both age-related. As the dog matures, changes occur not only in the behavior but also in the body. The puppy-like exuberance is shed off. The dog gets chubbier and less energetic due to arthritic pains. Some changes that occur inside the eye of the dog can be one of the causes of eye cloudiness. Throughout the life of a dog, layers around the center of the lens are constantly being created. The nucleus of the lens is stacked up like onion skins and gets denser as the dog gets older. As the lens fibers get compressed, the nucleus gets harder and becomes less transparent creating a gradual cloudiness near the pupil. Dogs with nuclear sclerosis have grayish or blue tinged lens. The lens of the eyes of healthy normal dogs is clear and has a greenish shine.

Eye cloudiness can be a sign of glaucoma. Glaucoma is probably the most serious eye problem a dog can ever have as this can result to permanent loss of vision. Eye cloudiness in glaucoma is associated with the accumulation of fats, lipids or white blood cells in the liquid in front of the lens that causes excessive intraocular pressure and damages the internal structures of the eyes.

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