Have you noticed that older dogs often have cloudy eyes? As dogs age, it is normal for their eyes to no longer look as crisp and clear as they used to. The most common cause of cloudiness in the eyes of older dogs is nuclear sclerosis…not cataracts! Nuclear sclerosis is an old-age change that occurs in the lens of the eye as the lens matures. Good news is dogs retain great vision with nuclear sclerosis, so the cloudiness doesn’t bother them.
In contrast, cataracts is an opacity within the lens of the eye that obscures vision. It is important for your veterinarian to differentiate between cataracts and nuclear sclerosis as eyes with cataracts may require additional treatment. Cataracts can cause the eyes to become inflamed and irritated; therefore, dogs may need daily, topical medications to keep the eyes comfortable. Lastly, if cataracts is advanced to the point of causing blindness, a veterinary ophthalmologist may be able to remove the cataract and restore vision for the dog!