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Those adorable puppy eyes get anything they want, don’t they? But over time, they may start to look kind of blue-ish or cloudy. Should you be concerned?  

Over time, your dog’s eyesight will understandably change and diminish. In rare cases, the change may be due to glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, anterior uveitis, or an acute illness or injury. Today, we’ll focus on the most common causes: nuclear sclerosis and cataracts. Nuclear sclerosis sounds scary, but it isn’t (you can call it lenticular sclerosis if it sounds less terrifying). Nuclear sclerosis is a common cause of cloudy eyes in dogs and is simply a side effect of getting old. It’s not exclusive to dogs, though; horses, cows, even humans can experience nuclear sclerosis, too.  

Look for these signs to try to determine if your dog is experiencing nuclear sclerosis:

  • Both eyes will become cloudy at the same time 
  • Typically begins in dogs over six years old
  • The dog does not appear to be in pain
  • The dog appears to adapt to changing vision well

 Cataracts are a bit different. If your dog is experiencing cataracts, you may notice:

  • Dog’s vision seems to be impaired (may run into furniture or have trouble finding her bed or toys)
  • The dog may appear to be in pain
  • Cloudiness coms on suddenly

Cataracts can be hereditary or may simply develop with age. They may also be brought on by diabetes, ocular disease, physical trauma, or malnutrition.

What Do I Do to Help?

Fortunately, it’s easily diagnosed and treated. Your veterinarian will use special eye drops and tools to determine if your dog’s eyesight is deteriorated as a result of cataracts. While cataract cloudiness might come on suddenly, it can be an inherited trait and develop gradually as well, so don’t assume slow change equals sclerosis. Always err on the side of caution and get it checked out. A veterinarian can use eye drops, light, and an ophthalmoscope to see if eyesight is obstructed and how severe the cataract is.

Though these conditions are common and easily treated, it’s always possible that your pet may require specialized care to treat nuclear sclerosis or cataracts.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.