Sunday, January 17, 2010

Canine Cataracts? Or is it the More Common, Nuclear Sclerosis?

Do you know the difference between canine cataracts and nuclear sclerosis? I didn't either until I read about it on the Foster & Smith website.

  • Canine cataract is the breakdown or disruption of the normal arrangement of the lens fibers or it's capsule. The disruption results in the loss of transparency which causes a reduction in vision and even blindness. The only real and proven treatment, is surgery. Cataracts in the lens of the eye look white, cloudy, or have a "crushed ice" appearance.

  • Nuclear sclerosis is a more common condition which is a normal change that occurs in aging dogs. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a slight graying of the lens. It usually happens in both eyes at the same time and occurs in most dogs after the age of 6 years. The loss of transparency occurs because of the compression of the linear fibers in the lens. Unlike cataracts, Nuclear sclerosis doesn't really interfere with your dogs vision. They usually don't recommend treatment.

If your dog has either, talk to your vet about which one it is likely to be before you use any over the counter treatment. You could do more damage than good. Always, always, consult your Vet.


  1. Though I get the Foster and Smith catalog, I never noticed this before. I always assumed that the cloudy eyes were cataracts. However, my pups could always see even with the cloudy eyes. 15 YO Ginder can still make out someone walking down the street even at a few hundred yards. I have to assume that it was actually the nuclear sclerosis that's causing the problem.

  2. Same with Happy. That's what got me to researching cataracts. When I found this article from Fosters & Smith, I knew that had to be the reason. He's got a slight blue glazed look to his eyeball, but seems to still be able to see very well. When it comes to this stuff, this blog has been a good learning experience for me.