A common question we get here at Sunset is “Is my pet developing cataracts because his/her eyes look cloudy?” The answer is “It depends.” Dogs and cats certainly do get cataracts but there can be other things that can make an eye look cloudy.
This is a normal age-related condition in older pets caused by the outer layer of the lens becoming less flexible over time. It can cause your pet’s eyes to look like they have a grayish blue haze to them. The good news is there is nothing that needs to be done and will not affect your pet’s vision as light still passes through to the retina. People can develop this as well which is why some need reading glasses when they get older.
Cataracts are an opacity of the middle fibers of the lens. There are several different classifications of cataract types as well as several different causes. These range from congenital cataracts to trauma, infections, or something like diabetes. Cataracts will usually cause the lens to become opaque and can lead to blindness if both eyes are affected as light cannot get through to the retina. The good news is that a veterinary ophthalmologist can remove the cataract(s) and if warranted can place an artificial lens in the eye that restores your pets vision to almost normal.
Swelling within the cornea can make the eye look hazy to cloudy. Again, a number of conditions can lead to swelling of the cornea. The most common are trauma to the cornea, infections, or chronic dry eye. Corneal swelling can be painful, so you may see your pet squinting or rubbing/pawing at their eyes.
If you notice that your pet’s eyes are looking hazy or cloudy, especially if they were fine the day before, then see our veterinarians to determine the cause and start treatment if needed. Early intervention can prevent secondary complications and hopefully result in quicker recovery.