Many owners of middle-aged and older dogs worry about their pets’ declining eyesight. Cloudy eyes are of particular concern, but that is not necessarily a sign that a dog is going blind, advises Shawn Messonnier, a doctor of veterinary medicine practicing in Plano, Texas.
“While cataracts strike many older dogs, a more common condition is lenticular or nuclear sclerosis, a thickening of the lens of the eye,” says Messonnier. He explains that this normal change causes the eye to appear somewhat cloudy or gray, similar to a cataract. However, unlike a cataract, this type of sclerosis does not interfere with the pet’s vision. “Veterinarians can easily tell the difference between these conditions,” he says. “No treatment is necessary for lenticular sclerosis; cataracts are often treated with carnosine drops or with surgery.”
For prevention, Messonnier suggests minimizing toxins that can cause inflammation throughout an animal’s body, not just the eyes. This means using blood titer testing instead of annual vaccinations, reducing the use of flea and tick chemicals, using natural pet foods and minimizing the use of conventional medications.
He also recommends feeding a pet nutrients that contribute to health and reduce inflammation and cellular damage, including fish oil, probiotics and antioxidants like bilberry, which supports eye health.