Eye problems in older dogs

Eye problems in older dogs

Key Takeaway:

  • Cataracts, glaucoma, and nuclear sclerosis are common eye problems in older dogs. These conditions can cause vision loss, discomfort, and other complications that may affect a dog’s quality of life.
  • Owners of senior dogs should be aware of the signs and symptoms of these conditions, such as cloudy or discolored eyes, frequent rubbing or scratching, and changes in behavior or activity levels. Regular veterinary check-ups and eye exams can also help detect and manage these problems early on.
  • Treatments for eye problems in senior dogs may include medication, surgery, or other therapies to alleviate pain, slow down disease progression, and improve vision. A combination of preventive measures, such as proper nutrition, exercise, and hygiene, can also help maintain eye health and prevent or delay the onset of age-related eye diseases.


Eye issues in senior canines are a regular worry for pet proprietors and vets. As mutts age, their eyes experience characteristic changes; some of which may bring about various eye issues. Early recognition of these troubles can forestall further harm and lift the nature of life for elderly mutts.

Eye Problems in Older Dogs

It’s vital to recall that not all eye issues in senior mutts are associated with maturing. A few conditions, for example cataracts and glaucoma, can create at any age. Other eye conditions may have hidden medical problems or hereditary inclinations. Subsequently, it is basic to have customary eye exams for your pooch with a qualified vet to recognize and treat any issues quickly.

Close by ordinary registration, pet proprietors should likewise be aware of indications and side effects of potential eye issues in their aging mutts. These may incorporate red or swollen eyes, over the top tearing or release, obscurity or opacity in the eye, and changes in vision or conduct. Taking note of these signs and looking for veterinary consideration can help analyze and treat eye issues before they advance.

Common Eye Problems in Older Dogs

As our furry companions start to age, their eyes may begin to develop certain issues. In this section, we will focus on the common eye problems that older dogs might face. From cataracts to glaucoma and nuclear sclerosis, we’ll cover the potential challenges that pet owners may need to prepare themselves for.


Cloudy eyes, difficulty seeing in bright light, bumping into things, and a change in eye color are tell-tale signs of cataracts.

This condition is caused by changes in lens protein which can be due to aging, inflammation, genetics, or other underlying issues. Catacts can develop rapidly or slowly over time.

Many dogs over 8 years old, according to the ACVO, will develop some degree of cataracts. Therefore, regular check-ups with a vet are important for older dogs as they may have vision problems associated with old age.

If left untreated, cataracts can lead to severe vision impairment. Treatment includes surgery to remove the affected lens and replacing it with an artificial one.

Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts in older dogs are caused by various factors, such as changes in the lens of the eye. These changes can cause opacity, leading to cataracts. Most often, cataracts occur due to natural aging. Injury, inflammation, toxins, drugs, and diseases like diabetes can also cause cataracts. Oxidative damage to lens proteins is a primary cause of cataracts. This damage creates clumps and cloudiness in the lens, resulting in cataracts. Other factors include inadequate nutrition, UV exposure, and chronic inflammation.

Certain dog breeds are more prone to cataracts. Congenital cataracts may be caused by genetic issues or infections before birth. These are usually discovered during a routine checkup of puppies at 6 weeks.

If your dog has cataracts, they may mistake you for a lamp post!

Symptoms of Cataracts

Cataracts are a common sight problem for older dogs. One symptom of cataracts is a cloudy lens in the eye, that can make it hard for dogs to see, and lead to accidents. Also, the behavior of the dog can change, so they don’t want to do activities they used to love.

Another symptom is difficulty walking around familiar spaces, or bumping into things, ’cause of reduced vision. And, sometimes, dogs may show signs of pain or discomfort when touched near their eyes.

These symptoms should be taken seriously. Diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further vision loss or secondary glaucoma.

Like Jack, a senior dog, whose owner noticed he was bumping into furniture more often and not interested in playing fetch. After getting checked by the vet, Jack was diagnosed with cataracts, and got surgery that made a big difference in his quality of life.

Cataracts in older dogs? Treatment options for better vision and more naps!

Treatment of Cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye issue for older dogs and need to be treated. The best way to treat cataracts is by surgically removing the affected lens(es). Depending on the severity, one or both lenses may have to be taken out.

Surgery is the only way to properly treat cataracts. It has the chance to give back clarity to the eye(s) and enhance vision. However, not all dogs can get surgery and complications like inflammation or glaucoma can happen afterwards.

Going to the vet regularly is key for keeping an eye out for any changes in your pet’s eyes. Early detection of cataracts can bring more successful results. Also, using medicine daily before surgery can raise the odds of a successful operation. For your dog’s eye health and overall well-being, it is essential to treat cataracts effectively.


Damage to a pup’s optic nerve can cause glaucoma. This is a severe, possibly blinding condition if not dealt with. Glaucoma happens when the aqueous humor doesn’t move properly. This fluid is in the eye and causes too much pressure when it can’t move. It can be caused by primary or secondary factors. Primary glaucoma has genetics, but secondary glaucoma may be due to inflammation, tumors, or cataracts.

Luckily, there are treatment options. These include topicals or oral medication, laser therapy, or surgery. The goal is to manage drainage and reduce eye pressure. Medication can help early stages of glaucoma, but advanced cases need surgery. Early detection and managing the condition can help with vision and comfort.

It is important to take signs of eye problems seriously. If you spot anything wrong, contact your vet right away.

Causes of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a dangerous eye issue which can affect older dogs. It is caused by an accumulation of aqueous humor in the eye due to raised pressure. This can harm the optic nerve and could lead to vision loss.

Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma in dogs, is due to a blockage in the trabecular meshwork. This stops the aqueous humor draining, leading to increased pressure and possible damage.

Other causes of glaucoma include lens luxation, inflammation, and tumours. Lens luxation is when the lens moves from its usual spot because of weak zonular fibres, increasing the pressure in the eye. Inflammation and tumours can also cause blockages and higher pressure.

Some dog breeds are more prone to developing glaucoma. These include Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, and Jack Russell Terriers, because of inherited structural defects that stop fluid drainage.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to stop permanent blindness. Owners should look out for signs such as dilated pupils, redness in the sclera area, and other signs of increased pressure. If these are spotted, veterinary help must be sought without delay.

Senior dogs with undiagnosed glaucoma may find it hard to see clearly. This could affect their life quality. It’s important to identify and treat glaucoma early to prevent serious issues and save the dog’s vision.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a frequent eye trouble in older dogs that needs urgent attention. It happens when there is an increase in pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve and eventually causing vision loss. Signs of Glaucoma can be redness in the eye, bulging or swelling of the eye, inflammation of the eyelid, and also ache or discomfort when touched. It’s vital to be aware that these signs may not always mean Glaucoma. They may be caused by other health issues, so pet owners must take their dog to a vet for an exact diagnosis.

In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, dogs with Glaucoma may show behavioral changes such as irritability or slothfulness. If left untreated, Glaucoma can cause blindness within hours or days. Therefore, recognizing and treating Glaucoma right away can help save your pup’s sight. With proper treatment, your furry pal can look forward to a brighter, clearer, and more comfortable future after facing Glaucoma.

Treatment of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition in senior dogs that needs medical treatment. Medication and surgical interventions, like prostaglandin analogs, beta-blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, or alpha-agonists, can reduce intraocular pressure and prevent vision loss. In more severe cases, gonioimplantation or laser therapy may be used.

It’s important to closely monitor progression with vet checkups. Treatment must be tailored to the individual and adjusted based on the dog’s response. Early detection and effective management are key to avoiding vision loss that can affect a senior dog’s quality of life.

If you want to provide your senior dog with Nuclear Sclerosis, you need to stay on top of glaucoma treatment. The right medication and surgical interventions can make a big difference.

Nuclear Sclerosis

Nuclear Sclerosis in dogs normally begins around 6 years of age. By 10 to 12, most dogs have it. It mainly affects peripheral vision, not what’s ahead.

It looks similar to cataracts, so pet owners might confuse them. But, surgery is only needed if there’s another issue.

It’s important to watch your senior dog’s eyesight. See a vet if you notice any changes. Early detection can stop it from getting worse.

Our eyesight weakens with age. And, a dog’s vision can suffer too. Any changes could mean Nuclear Sclerosis.

Causes of Nuclear Sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis is a frequent eye issue in older dogs. It’s caused by aging and oxidative damage. The lens nucleus hardens, resulting in a cloudy look in the pup’s eyes. This is because the lens is less flexible and more rigid, preventing accurate focus. Exposure to UV radiation can also cause oxidative damage in the lens, leading to nuclear sclerosis.

Compared to cataracts or glaucoma, this condition is harmless. But, similar to senior humans, older dogs still need vet checkups. Early detection is important in treating age-related sight disorders. Pet owners should take their seniors for regular checkups to spot any issues and get treatment quickly, improving their quality of life.

Causes of nuclear sclerosis
Aging Oxidative damage UV radiation

Symptoms of Nuclear Sclerosis

Nuclear Sclerosis is a common eye condition in senior dogs. Symptoms include progressive blueness or grayness of both eyes, caused by the hardening of the lens. This can lead to cloudiness and impaired vision. As aging progresses, the blue haze becomes more noticeable until the pupil is completely blue or gray. The cloudiness appears evenly over the lens, unlike cataracts which are round white spots.

It’s important to know that these symptoms of nuclear sclerosis are not harmful to dogs and usually don’t need medical attention. They don’t get worse over time unless there is another issue. It’s best to consult a vet if you notice changes in your dog’s eyes.

Nuclear sclerosis does not usually cause pain or discomfort. But it can still cause blindness if there are other conditions such as glaucoma or diabetes. Unfortunately, nuclear sclerosis is irreversible.

Treatment of Nuclear Sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis is a common eye condition that affects dogs as they age. The pupils become cloudy and less transparent, but usually, this does not lead to vision loss. However, some owners may still wish to seek treatment options.

No definite cure exists for older dogs with nuclear sclerosis. But, owners can take steps to manage the condition and keep their pet comfortable. Providing enough light can help with the reduced transparency of the lenses. Additionally, eye drops or ointments may help with any associated dryness or discomfort.

It is important to know that nuclear sclerosis does not need urgent medical attention like glaucoma. Treatment can be done at home with monitoring from a vet.

Other Eye Problems in Senior Dogs

As our furry companions age, their eyes can suffer from various issues. In this section, we’ll explore the other eye problems that older dogs may face. From calcific corneal degeneration to other ocular abnormalities, we’ll uncover the potential issues that can arise and their associated symptoms.

Calcific Corneal Degeneration

A condition that affects the eyes, Calcific Corneal Degeneration, is not fully understood. Aging and chronic eye irritation are believed to be related. Certain breeds, like Shih Tzus and Pekingese, may be more prone.

Cloudiness or haziness in the eye, and color or size changes, are symptoms. Treatment options range from regular eye cleaning to surgery. See a vet if you suspect a senior dog’s eye problem. If their eyes look like a crystallized donut, they may have this condition.

Causes of Calcific Corneal Degeneration

Calcific Corneal Degeneration is a condition that affects elderly pooches. It’s caused by an accumulation of calcium deposits on the cornea, which can lead to pain and vision problems.

Common causes include inflammation, environmental irritants, bad nutrition, and viral/bacterial infections. Genetics, breed, and prior eye trauma or surgery can also increase risk.

Early detection is key in treating this condition. Though it can’t be prevented, owners can reduce exposure to irritants and ensure healthy nutrition to lower chances of developing it.

Bella, a senior Golden Retriever, was diagnosed with calcific corneal degeneration after months of eye discomfort. Tests confirmed it, and her vet created a treatment plan. She underwent surgery to remove excessive calcium deposits. After medicated drops and check-ups, Bella’s vision improved greatly. With timely detection and treatment, she can now see clearly again.

If your pup has eye discomfort, it may be a sign of calcific corneal degeneration. Get them veterinary care right away for the best treatment.

Symptoms of Calcific Corneal Degeneration

Calcific Corneal Degeneration is an eye problem common in old dogs. It needs quick attention to stop discomfort and vision loss. White or grey spots on the cornea’s surface are the most noticeable symptom. They can grow bigger over time. Dogs with this condition may have less clear vision, blink more, paw their eyes or rub their faces.

It’s important to see a vet to confirm the diagnosis, not confuse it with cataracts. Not doing so can cause more problems like keratitis – inflammation of the cornea. Timely vet help can slow the disease’s progress with medication. This can give relief from symptoms such as vague vision and sore eyes.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Calcific Corneal Degeneration

Crazy Calcific Corneal Degeneration! It’s common in older dogs. Characteristics: mineral deposits in the cornea, and decreased vision. Diagnosis: comprehensive eye exam with intraocular pressure and a slit lamp. Treatment: topical meds like antibiotics and corticosteroids, or surgery in severe cases.

Early detection is key. Regular exams for senior dogs to spot any changes in their eyesight. Also, antioxidants, such as Vitamin C & E or omega-3 fatty acids, can help. But, consult your vet before introducing dietary changes. Keep an eye on the eyes of old dogs. Some changes can be vision-threatening or painful. Good diagnoses and treatments can improve their quality of life.

Other Ocular Abnormalities in Aging Dogs

As dogs age, their eyes are at risk of various issues. This can be anything from cataracts, glaucoma or nuclear sclerosis to milder problems such as ocular tissues thickening, iris atrophy and lipid deposits. However, some eye abnormalities can be life-threatening or painful. These can be caused by trauma, tumors or inflammation in the eyelids, cornea or retina.

One such issue is Calcific Corneal Degeneration (CCD). CCD is a mineral deposit on the cornea which causes opacity and vision loss. It is more common in elderly or unwell dogs. A diagnosis usually requires physical examination and tests like the Schirmer tear test, Fluorescein staining and intraocular pressure measurement. Treating CCD may require the removal of deposits surgically or using antifungal agents topically. Therefore, it is important to keep tabs on eye abnormalities in aging dogs.

Benign Changes

As dogs get older, their eyes may have various issues, including benign changes. These are normal, and often seen in older pooches. Examples include changes to the eyelids and other small eye issues.

Thinning or reduced skin elasticity around the eyes may also happen. Tumors or lumps may grow near the eyelids, but they won’t hurt the pup’s sight. It’s important to separate these benign changes from more intense diseases, like cataracts and glaucoma.

Though benign changes usually aren’t bad, owners should talk to their vet if they see a change in their pup’s eyes. Unless it’s an issue of looks, treatment isn’t necessary.

To sum up: benign changes are normal in aging dogs and generally harmless. Pet parents should monitor their pup’s eyes, and talk to their vet if anything seems off.

Vision-Threatening or Painful Diseases

As a pup-parent, vigilance about your furry friend’s eye health is essential. Diseases that can cause pain or damage to your dog’s vision exist. Glaucoma is one such disease. It is caused by too much intraocular pressure, and it can cause permanent vision loss if not treated soon. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens and may require surgery. Nuclear sclerosis can also happen as your dog ages. It causes a slightly reduced vision due to the lens having a bluish-gray haze.

Other changes that may affect aging canines include dry eyes or eyelid pigmentation changes. These can be more severe and cause vision-threatening or painful diseases like corneal ulcers or uveitis. These can cause permanent damage if not taken care of. It is essential to monitor your senior pup’s eyes and go to the vet ASAP if anything is strange.

Regular checkups at a veterinary ophthalmologist and proper at-home care are crucial for detecting problems early. Early detection and treatment of vision-threatening or painful diseases helps to maintain your dog’s eye health and prevent long-term problems like blindness. Keep an eye out for any changes in your fur baby’s behavior, and never delay vet visits if you notice any odd symptoms related to their vision.

Conclusion and Recommended Reading

As dogs age, eye problems can occur. These can affect their wellbeing and quality of life. So, regular check-ups with a vet are essential. An eye exam should be booked at least once a year. It can help identify any changes in vision or other eye-related issues.

Also, pet owners can take steps to reduce the risk of eye problems in their older dogs. Giving them a balanced diet, protecting their eyes and providing adequate lighting are great preventative measures.

Important: Any sudden changes in your pet’s eyes should not be ignored. Veterinary attention is key, as this could save your pet’s vision and overall health.

Some Facts About Eye Problems in Older Dogs:

  • ✅ Older dogs are prone to several eye problems such as cataracts, nuclear sclerosis, and calcific corneal degeneration. (Sources: Chewy, Old Dog Haven, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Cataracts can result in vision loss and are treated with surgery, while nuclear sclerosis and calcific corneal degeneration can also cause vision problems. (Sources: Chewy, Old Dog Haven, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Eye problems in older dogs can be caused by aging, wear and tear, injuries, underlying conditions, and systemic diseases like diabetes and Cushing’s disease. (Sources: Chewy, Old Dog Haven, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Eye problems in older dogs can be diagnosed through visual inspection and diagnostic tests such as fluorescent stain test. (Source: Today’s Veterinary Practice)
  • ✅ Regular eye exams and early detection can help prevent serious eye problems in older dogs. (Sources: Chewy, Old Dog Haven, WagWalking)

FAQs about Eye Problems In Older Dogs

What are some common eye problems in older dogs?

Some common eye problems in older dogs include cataracts, glaucoma, nuclear sclerosis, calcific corneal degeneration, and corneal endothelial dystrophy.

Can cataracts be treated in dogs?

Yes, cataracts can be treated in dogs through surgery which involves removing or breaking down the lens and possibly inserting an artificial lens. However, surgery is only attempted if vision has been lost in both eyes and the average cost of treatment can range from $1,500 to $4,000 per eye.

What is nuclear sclerosis true cataract in dogs?

Nuclear sclerosis true cataract is a bluing of the lens of the eye caused by fibers growing into the clear lens as a normal part of aging. It is not painful but can result in vision loss as the lens becomes less transparent.

What is calcific corneal degeneration in senior dogs?

Calcific corneal degeneration is a common eye condition in senior dogs which can lead to deep ulcers and fluid loss from the eye. It is caused by the accumulation of calcium or lipids in the corneal stroma and typically develops in dogs who are 14 years or older. It looks like white spots on the surface of the cornea and often goes unnoticed until an ulcer develops.

What are some clinical signs of corneal degeneration in senior dogs?

Some clinical signs of corneal degeneration in senior dogs include a white spot in one or both eyes, chronic eye pain, and progressive vision loss. Vets must perform several tests to diagnose corneal degeneration, including visual inspection and a fluorescent stain test.

Can dogs go blind from glaucoma?

Yes, dogs can go blind from glaucoma if the condition is left untreated. Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP) is elevated, leading to damage of the optic nerve and potentially irreversible vision loss. A recent study showed that 40% of dogs with glaucoma go blind within the first year of diagnosis.

What is systemic hypertension in dogs and how does it affect their eyes?

Systemic hypertension in dogs refers to high blood pressure throughout the body, which can damage blood vessels and organs including the eyes. It can lead to retinal degeneration and macular degeneration, which are both serious conditions that can result in vision loss. The treatment for systemic hypertension may include prescription medications such as ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers.

Joe Inglis
Latest posts by Joe Inglis (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

best vitamins for older dogs
Product Reviews and Recommendations

Best Vitamins For Senior Dogs

Top 5 Best Vitamins For Senior Dogs Compared 2023: Here are our top 8 options for the Best Vitamins For older Dogs: Read on for

Best Senior Dog Harness
Product Reviews and Recommendations

Best Senior Dog Harness

Top 8 Best Dog Harness for older Dogs Compared 2023: If you’re looking for the best senior dog harness read on to see our top

Best dog food for senior dogs with heart issues
Senior Dog Nutrition

Best dog food for senior dogs with heart issues

Key Takeaway: Senior dogs with heart disease require a proper diet: A proper diet is essential for senior dogs with heart disease. This involves selecting