Cataracts in Dogs
A cataract is a true opacity in what should be an optically clear lens. Cataracts can be very minor and insignificant to vision or involve the entire lens resulting in complete blindness. Somewhere in-between these extremes dogs will have visual impairment severe enough to benefit from cataract surgery.
Cataracts can result from metabolic disease (specifically diabetes), a hereditary defect in the lens, traumatic injury, chronic inflammation, or can occur with advanced age.
If a dog is experiencing visual impairment from cataracts then they would benefit from cataract surgery. The success rate for restoring vision via phacoemulsification cataract removal is approximately 95%.
Cataract surgery entails removing the opacified lens from the dog’s eye. Current technology allows us to perform surgery through a very small incision thereby minimizing trauma to the eye. This is accomplished via a technique called phacoemulsfification (PE), where a small needle is placed into the lens and ultrasonically vibrates to break the lens into small pieces which can be aspirated from the dog’s eye through the needle.
Veterinary Ophthalmology Center utilizes an AMO Whitestar Signature phacoemulsifier which is a new generation machine with several features which can reduce surgical time and trauma thereby improving healing and surgical success rate; including, the Ellips headpiece which creates a more efficient elliptical cutting motion at the needle, as well as a venturi style pump which provides better suction and more efficient aspiration of the lens material from the dog’s eye.
Because some dogs will require more follow up care and monitoring than others and this cannot often be predicted, all follow up visits during recovery from cataract surgery (8weeks) are included as part of the surgical fee.
Following successful phacoemulsification most dogs will be able to receive an artificial lens implant, so their visual pathway is not only clear, but images are in focus. In a small percentage of dogs there can be complicating factors which would prevent placement of an artificial lens, these dogs will see clearly but will be far-sighted.
Call Veterinary Ophthalmology Center today to have your dog examined for cataracts and to see whether he or she will benefit from cataract surgery.
Many people want to know how soon after surgery their dog will see. Here is a patient immediately before surgery and the day after surgery.
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Author: Paul Giorgio, Special Projects Producer,