Nuclear Sclerosis vs Cataracts
“My dog’s eyes look blue. He must be getting cataracts”. It’s common for our old canine moggies to get a bluish cloudy appearance in their eyes when they age. The common assumption is that they are developing cataracts
This is not always the case.Cataracts are opacities within the lens of the eye. However, there are other causes of a bluish appearance behind the pupil.The lens of our eye continues to grow throughout life. As this happens, the old cells aren’t shed but are compressed into the middle of the lens (the nucleus). The compressed proteins change into insoluble protein aggregates which causes scattering of light.
The centre or nucleus of the lens becomes harder and appears more blue.This is called Nuclear Sclerosis and is a natural aging process. It is not an indication for cataract surgery and it does not cause vision loss.Cataracts on the other hand do cause vision loss because they interrupt light passing through the lens to the retina at the back of the eye. There are many causes.
They may be a congenital problem that your dog is born with. Depending on the breed, they are often inherited and develop through life. They can develop after trauma such as if a ball that the dog is chasing strikes him hard in the eye. They can be associated with metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Various nutritional imbalances can also lead to cataract development.
Cataracts do impair vision and just as in humans, can be removed. Fortunately, true cataract formation is much more rare than nuclear sclerosis. If you are concerned about your pooch’s blue eyes, our vets can examine them and advise on whether they are causing a problem and if so, what is the best approach.