Causes of Eye Cloudiness in Dogs

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy dogs eyes are starting to get cloudy, he is 9 years old. He does not seem to be bothered by this. Do you know what would be causing this condition? (jay burggraf - Illinois)

Answer

When vets receive calls about any eye problem, they tend to prioritize the case for examination as soon as possible. This is because no amount of description can replace a veterinary examination, and some eye conditions can quickly lead to permanent loss of vision. There are 3 main parts of the eye which can be affected by cloudiness: The Cornea (the outermost layer of the eye, covering the iris); cloudiness of the fluid in the front chamber of the eye; and cloudiness of the lens (situated behind the iris). In general, cloudiness can be seen as an indication of either a serious eye problem, or a potentially serious underlying health concern.

Where the cornea is cloudy, the most common causes are infection, inflammation or scarring. However, this can also be a sign of glaucoma - possibly the most serious eye problem your dog can suffer from. Glaucoma can lead to raised intraocular pressure which can result in permanent damage - loss of vision or even loss of the eye - and must be treated as quickly as possible. Cloudiness of the fluid in the front chamber of the eye can be due to an accumulation of lipids, fats or white blood cells. In this case your dog needs to have a very thorough physical examination to determine the underlying cause of this. If the cloudiness seems to be limited to the inner most circle of the eye (the part which is normally black and clearly defined), this means that the lens of the eye is affected, and that your dog has a possible cataract. If the condition is inherited this is often apparent in young dogs, but older dogs can be affected too.

As we've seen, many of the causes of cloudiness in the eye are very serious and need to be treated as soon as possible. Before attending your vet, be observant of any other symptoms which may help in diagnosis. For example, if your dog has decreased vision you may notice slight behavioral changes. Look for any discharge or reddening of the eye, and try to judge of your dog is suffering from any pain.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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