Think your aging pet’s eyes are getting a little cloudy? Well, the most common cause for this is a process called lenticular sclerosis, which doesn’t normally affect your pet’s eyesight or overall health. With lenticular sclerosis, the fibers that make up the lens of the eye become more dense and compressed, giving the lens a hazy appearance.
Unfortunately, in some cases, a graying of the eye could indicate cataracts. Simply put, a cataract is an opacity in the lens of the eye. Your veterinarian can easily differentiate between lenticular sclerosis and a cataract with a pen light or ophthalmoscope. Fortunately, pets who are otherwise healthy are often good candidates for surgical removal of cataracts. More than 80% of pets who undergo the surgery have good long-term outcomes.
While some cataracts can go untreated, and many pets do well with reduced or no vision, there are some situations in which surgery may be a heavily recommended option (e.g. rapidly-maturing cataracts) and some cases where untreated cataracts can go on to cause additional problems like uveitis and glaucoma. Your veterinarian and/or veterinary ophthalmologist can help to guide you through the health and financial implications of these decisions.
FETCH Spring/Summer 2010