Let’s face it: As we grow older, many of us will experience vision changes. There really aren’t many ways to escape this reality. Our older, four-legged friends will probably suffer from vision changes too.
One of the most common eye conditions among aging dogs is called lenticular sclerosis. While it’s often a harmless, age-related eye condition, owners should still know everything about lenticular sclerosis in dogs.
Do you suspect that your older dog’s vision is slightly changing? If you answered this question with a big “yes,” there’s a chance that your dog has lenticular sclerosis. Don’t worry. Most dogs with this condition aren’t experiencing any pain.
What Is Lenticular Sclerosis In Dogs?
Many pet owners have never heard of lenticular sclerosis, and some even mistake this condition for cataracts because of their dog’s cloudy-like eyes.
Also sometimes referred to as nuclear sclerosis, lenticular sclerosis in dogs is a condition that causes their eyes to appear hazy, cloudy, and even bluish. The eyes appear cloudy because the old fibers in the lens are compressed and the aging lens fibers degenerate. More often than not, lenticular sclerosis will affect both eyes.
The condition is most likely to occur in dogs who are eight years or older. In fact, studies have shown that almost 50 percent of dogs who are at least nine years old will develop this condition.
Which Dog Breeds Are More Prone To This Condition?
When it comes to lenticular sclerosis, some dog breeds are more likely to suffer from this condition. Can you guess which ones?
Generally speaking, this condition is more likely to affect German Shepherds, Huskies, Poodles, and many more.
The reason why some dog breeds are more prone to develop this condition is that they have an inherited predisposition.
What Are The Causes Of Nuclear Sclerosis?
Much research suggests that the exact cause of nuclear sclerosis is unclear.
Since this condition is often seen in middle and senior dogs, many experts believe that age is a cause.
Additional possible contributing factors to lenticular sclerosis include nutritional deficiencies, eye trauma, and certain conditions like diabetes.
Do You Know The Symptoms Of Lenticular Sclerosis In Dogs?
If you know the symptoms of this condition, you definitely deserve a gold star since lenticular sclerosis is often confused with cataracts. The condition often results in the following symptoms:
- A slight vision loss
- Cloudy, bluish eyes
- Depth perception issues
These symptoms will usually appear in geriatric dogs as young as six years old.
If you think that your dog is suffering from lenticular sclerosis, you should get in touch with a vet for an examination.
How Does A Vet Diagnose Lenticular Sclerosis?
Although you may suspect that your pup has this condition, it’s important to remember that only a vet can tell you for sure. The condition is extremely common, so a vet will be able to provide a diagnosis in virtually no time.
In order to properly diagnose lenticular sclerosis and rule out cataracts, a vet will perform a thorough examination. During the examination, the vet will check out every part of your dog’s eyes including the lens fibers and lens capsule. The lens capsule is an important part of the eye.
An extremely experienced vet will most likely refer you to a vet ophthalmologist if your dog is potentially suffering from additional eye conditions.
Your Dog Has Lenticular Sclerosis: What’s The Best Treatment?
When your pup is diagnosed with this condition, you probably want to get your four-legged friend the best treatment as soon as possible.
Here’s the thing, though: Not only is there no specific treatment for nuclear sclerosis, treating this condition isn’t even recommended by vets. Fortunately, most dogs with nuclear sclerosis aren’t experiencing any pain, but they are adjusting to gradual vision loss.
After talking with a vet, you can try adjusting your pup’s diet to see if that improves the symptoms of this condition. Many experts believe that a dog food rich in antioxidants can be extremely helpful.
As your pup’s sight changes, you’ll also need to adjust your home to prevent accidents.
Don’t forget to monitor your pup for vision changes including the development of cataracts .
Please note: You’ll want to get in touch with a vet right away if your dog’s eyes become red, swollen, or irritated. Also, before giving your dog Tylenol for pain, consult with a vet.
Will Your Dog Recover From Lenticular Or Nuclear Sclerosis?
The prognosis for dogs with this condition is normally good.
While your pet’s vision will gradually change, your dog will probably be able to adapt to these changes.
The changes to your dog’s vision are unlikely to affect its overall quality of life.
Will Your Pup Develop Cataracts?
The truth of the matter is that many dogs with lenticular sclerosis will eventually develop cataracts as they gradually age. Cataracts can also be caused by eye injury, diabetes, and an inherited predisposition.
Cataracts are actually viewed as a much worse condition, so it’s understandable if you’re concerned about your aging dog. Contrary to lenticular sclerosis, cataracts can cause blindness.
Here are the most common dog breeds that are susceptible to cataracts: Labs, Boston Terrier, Frenchies, and Poodles.
Just know that if your dog happens to get cataracts, a vet will have to surgically correct this condition. Make sure to seek out an experienced vet for the surgery. If your dog is not treated promptly, glaucoma and blindness could occur.
Can This Condition Be Prevented?
Most dog owners want to know how to prevent their dogs from suffering from lenticular sclerosis.
Lenticular sclerosis is not usually a preventable condition, but dog owners can significantly delay the onset of this condition in their aging dog by doing the following:
- Get your pup’s eyes examined at least once a year to check for lenticular sclerosis, cataracts, or other eye problems
- Try improving your dog’s eye strength with vet-approved supplements and an altered diet
- Make sure your pup stays hydrated throughout the day
- Maintain an extremely safe environment by installing nightlights and removing obstacles
- Be really patient with your aging dog
Please remember that most dogs develop this condition as they age.
1. What is lenticular sclerosis?
Lenticular sclerosis is a condition that most dogs will develop as they age. The condition occurs when the lens fibers harden, and it’s usually characterized by a cloudy transparent haze that appears in a geriatric dog’s eyes. The condition should not be compared to cataracts in any way.
While you may be extremely concerned that your dog is suffering from lenticular sclerosis, it’s important to keep in mind that this condition doesn’t affect your dog’s sight very much.
An experienced vet will be able to diagnose this condition quickly.
2. Can lenticular sclerosis cause blindness?
Most dogs with this condition will not lose their sight, and they are usually able to have a great quality of life.
They may just have trouble seeing things in complete detail and navigating during the night. Since virtually every dog uses its nose to get around, those changes won’t really impact a dog with lenticular sclerosis.
If your dog eventually develops cataracts, blindness could definitely occur. Surgery will be needed to correct the blindness caused by cataracts.
3. Is lenticular sclerosis in dogs painful?
The good news is that dogs who suffer from this condition rarely experience pain or discomfort, so treatment is not necessary.
While your senior dog may not be experiencing pain, it’s probably a good idea to make the home environment more comfortable.
In addition, you should alter your pup’s diet to delay the progression of this condition. You may want to feed your pup food that’s rich in antioxidants.
If your dog does start showing signs of pain, you’ll want to visit a vet immediately.
4. Do humans get lenticular sclerosis?
Many dog owners may not know that this condition is actually pretty common in humans too.
The condition typically occurs in older people.
Most people with this condition typically suffer from extremely blurry and/or double vision. They may struggle with night driving because street signs and other objects may be extremely difficult to see.
The treatment for this condition is simply an excellent pair of glasses, but surgery may be necessary if a person’s vision gets much worse.