Eye problems are a common occurrence in dogs. Due to the fact that they explore with their noses, a dog’s eyes are more susceptible to factors that can irritate or infect them. It is a good idea to regularly examine your dog’s eyes at home and if you see something unusual take him or her to the vet as soon as possible to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse because a lot of problems can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. The following are common eye problems your dog may encounter throughout his or her life to better help you identify and treat any eye ailments.
Cataracts: When the lense of a dog’s eye or eyes starts to become opaque instead of transparent, he or she could be developing cataracts. A cataract can cause blurry vision and if it large enough to cover the whole lense it can cause blindness. Usually cataracts is inherited but it
can also be the cause of old age, trauma or certain diseases. If you start to notice a cloudy, blue-grey mass in your dog’s eye, take him or her to the vet for treatment- which may include surgery.
Cherry Eye: Dog’s have a third eyelid in the corner of their eye which contains a tear gland and is normally unseen. However, when their third eye prolapses and swells out of its normal position it is a condition known as cherry eye. Any dog can be affected by cherry eye and it is normally recognized by a swollen, pink mass in the corner of their eye. Once diagnosed by your vet, medications or surgery, if the case is severe, may be recommended.
Conjunctivitis: Just as it is in humans, conjunctivitis or pink eye can be a common occurrence in dogs’ eyes. It occurs when the tissue that coats the eye, known as the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. It can be irritating for the infected dog often causing him or her to paw at the infected eye. Other symptoms include redness, squinting ,and watery and puffy eye(s). Take your dog to the vet when you notice these symptoms so it can be determined whether the conjunctivitis was caused by allergies, a virus or bacteria and what treatments to pursue.
Corneal Ulcers: The transparent film that covers the eye, known as the cornea, is made up of layers. When the deepest layers of the cornea are lost a corneal ulcer can form. An ulcer is usually formed from injury but other causes can include disease, infection, or a foreign object in the eye. Breeds with short noses and more exposed eyes, like the pug, are more likely to develop a corneal ulcer.
Dry Eye: Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, dry eye is a disorder of the tear glands that occurs when there is not enough tear production and leads to a dry cornea. The most common symptoms of dry eye are a mucusy layer on the eye and the cornea appearing dry and
dull. Certain diseases and injuries to the eye can cause dry eye. Vets diagnosis this condition by measuring a dog’s volume of tears.
Ectropion: Characterized by a dog’s lower eyelid appearing droopy, ectropion is an abnormality of the lower eyelid which causes them to roll outward. Because this condition causes the eye’s conjunctival tissue to be exposed, a dog with ectropion is likely to develop conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, or dry eye.
Entropion: A condition that causes a dog’s eyelid to invert inwards is known as entropion. The condition can cause vision loss if an eyelash, hair or other object scratches the eye. It is normally diagnosed within a dog’s first year of life and is considered to be a common ailment. Surgery is usually recommended to treat entropion.
Epiphora: Epiphora is not a disease but rather a symtoms of a number of conditions and it is characterized by a dog’s eyes producing an overflow of tears. Dogs with this symptom usually have a buildup of liquid under their eyes or tears rolling down their faces. If you notice your dog has these symptoms take him or her to the vet to determine what the underlying cause of the epiphora is.
Glaucoma: When fluid does not properly drain from a dog’s eye, which is caused by pressure placed on the eye, the condition is known as glaucoma. Serious cases can lead to blindness and there are two types of glaucoma: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma cases are caused when the fluid in a dog’s eye does not adequately drain but secondary is caused by other infections in the eye.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: When the cells in a dog’s retina are programmed to degenerate this is known as progressive retinal atrophy. It is an inherited disease that is not painful to the dogs but it eventually progresses until the dog is fully blind. The first symptoms include clumsiness and not being able to see at night. After an affected dog’s night vision is lost, the rest of his or her vision follows shortly after.