Cataract Awareness Month

It’s August, and that means that it is cataract awareness month! Educate yourself on this common pet problem by reading our FAQs:

What is a cataract?

The eye contains a clear lens that helps the eye to focus.  Any opacity that develops in the lens is a cataract.  Very small cataracts may not cause a problem at all, but larger, cloudier opacities can cause blurry or even totally obscured vision.

If my pet’s eyes are cloudy, does that mean it has cataracts?

Most pets will start to have some hardening of the lens as they age.  This results in a grayish-blue haziness to the eye.  This is NOT a cataract and does not usually interfere with vision.

Why did my dog/cat develop cataracts?

Most cataracts are inherited and can occur at any age and develop at any speed in one or both eyes.  Diabetes or other ocular diseases can also cause cataracts to develop.

What can be done about cataracts?

There is nothing that can be done to reverse a cataract once it has developed.  For certain patients, a veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a surgery in which the lens is removed.  This is a delicate and involved procedure, however it can restore vision almost completely.

What if I don’t do surgery?

Most pets do well even if they are blinded by cataracts.  They should be monitored closely, however, as cataracts can lead to painful glaucoma or luxation (displacement) of the lens.

If you have any questions about cataracts please consult with your regular vet, or give us a call.

Returning the Favor

Service DogsService animals are amazing creatures.  They selflessly and lovingly perform all sorts of tasks for their human wards.  Every once in awhile it is nice for us to be able to return the favor to them.  That is why Dr. Gearhart, Oakland Veterinary Referral Service’s veterinary ophthalmologist, is participating in ACVO/Merial’s National Service Dog Eye Exams during the month of May.

During this campaign, boarded veterinary ophthalmologists provide free ocular screening examinations to qualified service animals.  During this screening, problems such as redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, cataracts, and other serious diseases will be able to be identified.  By providing this service, they hope to identify and prevent any problems that may affect the animal’s vision.  Detecting problems early is essential to these dogs’ futures.

If you would like more information regarding this program or would like to find out if an animal you know meets the qualifications, please visit our ophthalmology page and click on “Free Eye Exams for Active Service Dogs.”