A Guide to Frequent Dog Vision Problems

Dog vision problems are often the result of eye problems ranging from ingrown eyelids to corneal ulcers. Many dog eye problems can be treated with medication and surgery; others can be prevented. Here's what you need to know about the most common vision problems experienced by dogs.

Symptoms of Dog Eye Problems

You'll probably notice right away if something is wrong with your dog's eyes. Symptoms of dog vision problems include:

  • Avoiding light
  • Bulging eyes
  • Close or partially closed eyes
  • Cloudiness
  • Discharge
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness
  • Rubbing the eye or face

Problems for Vision Impaired Dogs Explained

Cataracts cause the clear lense of your dog's eye to become cloudy over time. This condition is usually genetic and occurs when your dog becomes elderly. Cataract surgery has a very high success rate; about 90% of dogs who receive cataract surgery experience a complete recovery of vision.

Corneal ulcers occur when your dog experiences an eye injury, such as that caused by a cat scratch, a thorn, or the introduction of a foreign object into the eye. This injury may become infected, requiring antibiotics. If a foreign object, such as a thorn, has become lodged in your dog's eye, he may require surgery to remove it. A corneal ulcer may cause your dog's eye to water excessively, and he may hold his eye partially or completely closed.

Infection may cause the area around your dog's eye to become inflammed. Treatment may involve antibiotics, and your dog's eye may need to be cleansed regularly with a solution.

In-grown eyelids can be hereditary, or can occur as a result of chronic, untreated inflammation of the eyes. In this condition, the eyelids turn in, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye. This can give your dog a large, often white corneal ulcer. To find out whether your dog suffers from in-grown eyelids, gently pull the lid away from the eye, then let it drop; if it curls back on itself, your dog is probably suffering from in-grown eyelids, and will need corrective surgery.

Conjunctivis or dog pink eye can make your dog's eyes inflammed, itchy, and sensitive to light. Your dog may rub his eyes or face excessively; he may avoid light; his eyes may begin to water. Symptoms of dog pink eye include:

  • Abnormal eye discharge, often limiting your dog's ability to blink or close his eye.
  • Pink inflammation of the eye.
  • Bloodshot appearance of the eye.
  • Inflammation of the eyelid and surrounding eye tissue.
  • Pink eye is contagious from humans to dogs, so be alert if someone in your household has pink eye.

Risk Factors for Dog Eye Problems

Diet is one of the primary risk factors for dog vision problems. A diet without leafy green vegetables, carrots, blue or purple berries, or sesame seeds can leave your dog prone to eye problems. Debris and discharge can damage your dog's eyes, leaving him with impaired vision.

Age, breed, and gender can also play a role in dog vision problems, especially as many problems, such as cataracts or nearsightedness, become worse with age. Other problems, like in-grown eyelids, are more common in puppies.