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What is Eyes Turning White?

If your dog has developed white eyes, it may have developed from a variety of different medical conditions. Whichever condition it may be, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in order to have your dog’s eyes checked and treated as necessary. White eyes in dogs may create discomfort, pain and stress or anxiety if they are not familiar with what is occurring with their vision. Lenticular sclerosis and cataracts are both considered common eye problems seen in dogs over the age of 9. Glaucoma can have many different causes including a genetic component which may see early development in some breeds.

  • Lenticular sclerosis 
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma

Why Eyes Turning White Occurs in Dogs

Lenticular Sclerosis

Lenticular sclerosis occurs when there is a blue/white transparent “haze” that develops within the lens of the eye in senior dogs. It is a naturally occurring condition associated with effects of aging, which can lead to white and cloudy eyes. Dogs that experience lenticular sclerosis do not appear to have their vision significantly affected. Lenticular sclerosis typically develops in both eyes in senior dogs. It appears as a symmetrically rounded gray area in the center of the lens. 

The following symptoms may be observed as your dog develops lenticular sclerosis:

  • Cloudy color in the lens
  • Lack of vision
  • Lack of distance and depth perception
  • Typically present in both eyes
  • Cloudiness differs on lighting 

When white eyes occur in dogs due to the presence of lenticular sclerosis or cataracts, there are several causes as to why it develops. In lenticular sclerosis in dogs, the lens becomes harder as time passes. As the central lens is compressed by new fibers which are then deposited on the outer rings of the lens, the compression results in lens hardening. 

Cataracts

Another cause of white eyes in dogs is cataracts. Cataracts are characterized as white and opaque. Cataracts cloud the eye lens and can cause either partial or complete loss of vision. Cataracts develop as result of an increased amount of protein accumulated in the eye. The cloudiness seen in cataracts is a result from the eye failing to maintain hydration. The retina is prevented from receiving light and creating an image for your dog. In turn, this may cause the loss of vision. Untreated cataracts can lead to further eye inflammation, glaucoma, and blindness. While cataracts are more likely to be observed in senior dogs, they can occur at any age and can be observed in either one or both eyes. Some signs to look out for include:

  • White/cloudy eyes
  • Discoloration of the eye
  • Changes in lighting

In cataracts, the most common cause of this condition is due to genes. There are certain dog breeds that are prone to developing cataracts such as Miniature and Standard Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, Golden Retrievers, Boston Terriers, and Bichon Frises. Other causes of cataracts include diabetes, aging, and eye trauma. 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma can lead to blindness and is a painful disease. Pressure inside the eye leads to the pain and is caused by too much fluid in the eye. The cornea can become cloudy leading to a loss of vision. Other symptoms may be:

  • Squinting
  • Avoidance of light
  • Redness of the eye
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What to do if your Dog is Eyes Turning White

In order to determine why your dog has developed white eyes, it is essential to have him checked out by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will conduct a series of tests to determine the cause of your pet’s condition. The veterinarian will ask you questions regarding when the symptoms were first observed, any changes in his health, and if there has been any recent trauma. 

Your dog will be provided with an ophthalmologic examination to determine whether there has been any vision loss and to detect the presence of cataracts. Your veterinarian may dilate your dog’s pupils to evaluate the structure of his eye. This exam will reveal the possibility of cataracts, glaucoma or lenticular sclerosis. A complete blood work panel and urinalysis are expected to be offered to your dog to eliminate the possibility of diabetes. For lenticular sclerosis, the same tests will be conducted in order to rule out other medical conditions that may have gone unnoticed. If your dog’s white eyes are a result of lenticular sclerosis, there is no treatment necessary. Treatment for glaucoma and cataracts may involve both medication and surgery.

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Prevention of Eyes Turning White

Prevention of white eyes in dogs depends on the medical condition and whether prevention is foreseeable. With lenticular sclerosis, prevention is not a realistic goal due to the progressive nature of the condition. Lenticular sclerosis occurs due to old age in dogs and happens naturally. It is not avoidable and may be common in certain breeds of dogs.

If your dog is diagnosed with lenticular sclerosis, there is no treatment in order to cure the condition. Your veterinarian can help guide you in the right direction for how to best support your dog. Due to his special needs, he may need assistance with the stairs, climbing, and running. Lenticular sclerosis can develop into cataracts at a later stage in your dog’s life. If this occurs, continue to monitor any changes in your dog’s behavior as well as changes to his activity level. 

 It is recommended to help with the upkeep of your dog’s health by checking in regularly with your veterinarian. Regular check-ups will allow your veterinarian to discover possible anomalies with your dog and treat them immediately. For cataracts, it is possible to avoid further damage to the eye by surgically removing the cataracts from your dog. Removing cataracts can help restore failing vision. Reducing the pressure in the eye is necessary when treating glaucoma. The type of surgery chosen will be decided after the severity of the condition is determined.

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Cost of Eyes Turning White

Treating white eyes in dogs can become expensive depending on the condition your dog is diagnosed with. Treatment for lenticular sclerosis can range anywhere from $200 to $300. Treatment for cataracts in dogs can become more expensive to treat due to the nature of the condition. Treatment for cataracts can range from $300 to $3000. The average cost of treating cataracts is $2500. The expense for dealing with glaucoma can reach $3500, with the average cost typically being $900.

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Eyes Turning White Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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weiner/chihuahua

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Paw And White Spot In Eye

Swollen paw 2 days ago. White spot in eye happened 1 month ago

Dec. 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question . It is impossible to assess the paw from that photo I'm afraid. Generally, this kind of thing is best examined in person. Swelling can have many causes including a muscle strain, insect bite, infection, exacerbated arthritis etc. With regards the eye, again this isn't showing up well on the photo. It would be important to examine the eye in person, to check twar production and rule out an active ulcer. Potential explanations could include an active ulcer, healed ulcer or lipid deposit.

Dec. 21, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

White Eyes

Why is my dog’s eyes are getting white?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . It isn't possible for me to give you a diagnosis without being able to see your dog, but that looks like there is a problem with the cornea or retina, and It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any treatment that they might need.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Aspin

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Ten Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Eye Clouding

My dogs hes a white.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . Since I cannot see your dog, if you are still noticing a difference in his eyes, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Princess

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Yorkshire Terrier

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Lack Of Coordination

My yorkie is 14 years old , his eyes have turned white and I can tell her eyesight is very poor. Very active but due to this, she’s beginning to slow down her pace. She seems lost... trying to see .can you di some type of surgery to get her eyesight back?

Sept. 19, 2018

Princess' Owner

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Elly

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Labrador

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Droopy Eye
White Cast Over One Eye

I have an 11 year old brown labrador, I have just come back from a walk and noticed her bottom eyelids are very droopy and one eye has got a little bit of a white cast over it. It doesn't seem to be worrying her at all I am just concerned.

April 5, 2018

Elly's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Without seeing Ella, I don't have any way to determine what might be going on with her eye. it would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they will be able to see her, look at her eyes, and determine if there is a problem or not. They'll be able to recommend any testing or treatment that might be necessary. I hope that she is okay!

April 5, 2018

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Dante'

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Japanese Spitz

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lenticular Sclerosis Or Cataracts

I don't have an idea what kind of type my dog is, but when I see this research, it looks like Lenticular Sclerosis or Cataracts because it looks identical in that symtoms,.. i just don't know what to do because we don't have money to treat him..

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Farrah

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Yorkshire Terrier

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blind In One Eye, Eye Is White

My 9 1/2 year old yorkie's eyes looked a little cloudy and one day when I came home after being away for four hours one eye had turned completely white when I was away! Vet said not to bring her in unless it was bleeding or trauma to it otherwise wait a few days which I did. She didn't say much when looking into it with her flashlight other than that she could not see from that eye at all......no testing, nothing. Should I go to an eye specialist for dogs? It's been about 3 months since that happened?

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hercy

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Terrier mixed

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pupil Changing Color At Night Or In

my terrier is 6. just noticed his pupil in one eye turns blue at night but goes back to normal when we go into the light? started 3 weeks ago. Any thoughts as to why?

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Walter

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Shih Tzu x Westie

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Nine Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Cloudy Blotches In Both Eyes.

Hi. I have a 9yo Shih Tzu x West Highland Terrier. He has always been in top health. Last year he developed a very small round cloudy spot right over his pupil. The vet said it was fatty tissue and would probably dissolve. I had to go overseas for two months and returned today. BOTH his eyes have gotten very cloudy in this short time. It isn't in a circle. It seems to be in blotches in different areas of the eyes and not round. No redness, maybe a little bit watery but barely noticeable. Would stress of me being away bring this on prematurely? What could it be?A

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Lucky

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Shih Tzu

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Discoloration Of Right Ey

My dog had issues with his eyes after we brought home a puppy and she was poking his face. He had surgery and had his lids closed, and prior to that I was taking him to an eye specialist and had to visit each time to get refill of his meds. It all got too expensive. Eight months later one eye looks okay (better than before) but his right eye is worse, it's white. I don't think he can see from that eye, but he seems fine other than that. (he had blink deficit, Lenticular sclerosis. later i was given another sheet showing blepharitis & uveitis, it was confusing and expensive. I don't see anything other than his right eye is white or opaque, but you can see where the iris starts.) I wish someone could tell me what to do other than continue spending money. Doing nothing the left eye improved and the right eye got worse.

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