Over the weekend I was playing out with my Labrador retriever, Rosie, and I noticed she wasn’t as sharp as normal. As a good dog owner, I sat down with her and tried to figure out what was going on. As I looked at her eyes, I noticed how cloudy they were. I had no idea dogs could get cataracts! From my work at Dr Tavel, I knew that almost 22 million Americans suffer from cataracts, but I didn’t even consider that my dog could get them.
Cataracts are clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye. The clouds obstruct light from entering the eye. The lens is primarily made up of water and protein arranged very precisely. Aging causes the proteins to clump together (forming the cataract), preventing light from coming into the eye. If you want an idea of what it would be like, imagine trying to see through fog – the thicker the fog, the worse the cataract.
So, is there any help for Rosie? Well, just like in people, an ophthalmologist can surgically remove the lens and replace it with a plastic or acrylic lens. These surgeries have a very high success rate, with 90% having vision 20/40 or better. However, this is a surgery that can only be done once and cataracts can still return. Consult with your Indy optometrist to see if you are good candidate.