Owners may notice their pet is bumping into objects and struggling to find food and toys. These may be signs of blindness.  Many things can lead to blindness in dogs and cats. But before we delve deeper, here’s a basic overview of how the eye works:

The eye acts like a camera that takes pictures and sends them to the brain for interpretation. Light reflecting off an object enters the eye through the cornea, which is like the eye’s window and helps focus light onto the retina. It then passes through the pupil.

blindness in dogs and cats

The iris, which is the colored part of the eye, surrounds the pupil and regulates how much light passes through it. Behind the iris and pupil is the lens, a transparent structure that also focuses light onto the retina. The retina converts the light into nerve impulses, which travel to the brain through the optic nerve.

Once at the optic nerve, images are carried to the brain which takes these nerve impulses and creates an image. When one of these structures isn’t working properly, it can lead to visual impairment including blindness.

Some of the more common causes of blindness in dogs and cats include the following.

Pug with pigmentation over his cornea
Pug with pigmentation over his cornea

If you notice any signs of blindness or changes in your pet’s eyes, take your pet to the veterinarian. Oftentimes, older dogs and cats develop an age-related cloudiness in their eyes (its a thickening of the lens) that is usually harmless to vision. However, owners often confuse the thickening with cataracts, so it is still worth getting checked by a veterinarian to make certain it’s harmless.

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