Just like humans, our furry friends can also have vision impairments. Cat and dog eye problems can range from total blindness to inflammation. It’s important to take your pet to the doctor to have their vision checked and treated if you suspect any vision issues.
Cats’ eyes are very different from our own. Their nocturnal vision is far superior to ours, due to large pupils and an extra layer in the back of the eye called a tapetum. If your cat has a sudden behavior change like bumping into furniture, it may be an indication that the animal has vision problems.Most changes are subtle, since cats will adjust to a gradual loss of vision over time. A cat with failing vision may appear more cautious, slowly climbing down feet first from elevated heights and crouching closer to the ground as they walk. Sometimes the appearance of the eyes may change, too. A cloudy appearance could indicate glaucoma or cataracts. Red eyes may be a sign of high blood pressure.
The most common feline eye disorder is conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye. It is highly contagious but easily treatable. The most obvious symptom is runny eyes.
If you suspect any problems with your cat’s vision, schedule an appointment with your vet.
There are a wide range of issues a dog may experience with their vision. You’ll notice a few obvious signs that your dog has problems with their vision including: avoiding the light, redness, cloudiness and discharge. If you suspect there is a problem with your dog’s vision, call the vet immediately.
The most common dog eye problems include:
What about eyeglasses?
Although animals may have vision problems, pet eyes are not the same as human eyes. For example, dogs tend to be nearsighted. While humans can correct nearsightedness with prescription eyeglasses or contacts, dogs would never keep glasses on their face. Instead, dogs and cats with vision impairment learn to adapt to their surroundings. If you notice that your pet’s vision is failing, discuss possible treatments with your vet. Sometimes vision loss is part of the aging process or can be caused by stroke, diabetes and other conditions. There are many ways you can help your pet with failing vision or blindness by providing them with a safe environment. For more information about helping your dog adjust to changes in vision, visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals .