What are Lenticular Sclerosis?
The lens is important to helping your dog to see clearly as light is focused on the retina, which is located in the back of the eyes. The lens continues to change in structure as new layers are added throughout your dog’s life. The size of the eye is fixed and the capsule that holds the lens cannot stretch accordingly. Simply put, the lens of your dog’s eye can be compressed by layers of lens fibers as they develop within the eye of your aging pet.
Lenticular sclerosis is sometimes wrongly mistaken for cataracts since the cloudiness in the lens is similar. Fortunately for your pet, vision is not drastically affected by lenticular sclerosis until your dog gets much older. Lenticular sclerosis is seen in many dogs as they age. Contact your veterinarian for an examination, diagnosis, and treatment regimen for the condition affecting your canine companion’s eye. Cloudiness of the lens should always be evaluated to rule out conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma.
As your dog gets older, the eyes and other parts of the body begin to undergo changes. Lenticular sclerosis is one such change which makes the pupil of your canine’s eye appear hazy or cloudy.
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Symptoms of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
Symptoms often begin between six to eight years of age in dogs. Your dog’s pupil will begin to lose the normal black color, turning whitish or gray as vision deteriorates.
- Cloudy bluish color in the lens
- Lack of vision
- Lack of distance and depth perception
- Usually occurs in both eyes
- Lighting conditions can alter the appearance of the cloudiness
Causes of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
- Gradual change allows for an adjustment of the vision changes
- Age can be a factor
- Lens fibers compress the lens
- Compression of the lens causes an opaque appearance
- Compression causes hardness of the lens
Diagnosis of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
To definitively diagnose lenticular sclerosis, your veterinarian will do a detailed eye exam. The pupils will be dilated after the administration of medicated drops. Evaluation of the structure of the eye should reveal whether your pet has cataracts or lenticular sclerosis. An ophthalmoscope will be used to look into the eyes; often the cloudiness of the lens is best viewed with an approach from the side. If your dog has a large cataract, the eye exam will show it; the cataract will also block the retina allowing the veterinary specialist to confirm the diagnosis. If the lens is able to be seen through by the veterinarian, this means your pet can see through it as well, though with some alterations to vision. The ability to see through the lens, however limited, means lenticular sclerosis.
Treatment of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
There is no treatment for the condition. Fortunately, there is no pain involved and the gradual changes in vision as your pet has aged as most likely allowed them to adapt. However, knowledge of the changes in your pet’s vision will allow you to be aware of special needs that may arise due to vision perception such as the need for assistance when taking the stairs, climbing into a vehicle, or running in unfamiliar territory.
Documentation shows that canines with lenticular sclerosis may develop cataracts. Because of this possibility, any changes in your pet’s behavior, whether it be activity level or demeanor, should be discussed with your veterinarian in the event that further vision loss has occurred.
Recovery of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
As your dog starts to show signs of aging accompanied by vision loss, it is very important to maintain regular visits to the veterinarian. Keep your pet’s environment safe, predictable and consistent. Your dog may also develop a reduction or deterioration of other senses such as smelling and hearing as he ages; closely supervise your dog inside the house and out of doors.
Lenticular Sclerosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Subj: lenticular sclerosis. I understand there is no cure for lenticular sclerosis and it does not severely affect my dog's vision. My question: Is there a way to slow down the progression and/or prevent cataracts in dogs (whether it be diet, environment, etc.)?
Thank you Dr. King for your timely response!
Quilo was a rescue dog and the diagnosis in April 2018, done by the rescue foundation's veterinarian was lenticular sclerosis. I was just curious if it was reversible and you have answered my question.
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My 8 yr old shih tzu was diagnosed with lenticular sclerosis yesterday. Can this be treated or is it just a natural progression of aging? She is treated for seizures since she was 16 months old.
There is no treatment for lenticular sclerosis but the condition will progress slowly as Bella ages, regular monitoring is important due to the development of cataracts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Does lenticular sclerosis often lead to cataracts?
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