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Causes of eye cloudiness in dogs

Updated on February 18, 2012

Dogs are renowned for their heightened sense. A dog’s scenting ability is legendary. Dogs have powerful vision as well. Human’s best friends may not have the ability to see the full colors of the rainbow just like humans can but these animals have excellent night vision. Dogs though like humans, tend to develop eye problems throughout their lives. Eye cloudiness is one of these canine eye problems that trouble the dog and concerns the dog owner. A dog’s eye that appears cloudy would necessitate a visit to the vet. Some eye concerns are genetic, others are acquired. A dog owner has to know the causes of these eye problems in order to prevent its occurrence.

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A dog’s normal healthy eye

The lens of a normal healthy eye is clear and has a greenish hue when lighted up for examination. The lens has to be translucent and clear to facilitate the transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eyes. Normal vision can be impaired when the dog develops cloudiness that affect the cornea, the lens and the fluid in the front chamber of the eye.

Persistent Pupillary membrane

This eye cloudiness is congenital. The vision reducing capacity begins during the dog’s fetal development. The blood vessels inside the eye deteriorate and loss their function even before the dog is born. The fibrous strands crisscross the eyes giving the cornea an opaque appearance. This untreatable condition that may partially or completely obscure vision is common in the Basenji breed.


Cataract is a prevalent eye problem in canines. This condition that causes vision-reducing opacity is commonly an inherited disorder. This eye problem that obscures vision when a cloud gradually grows over the lens is often seen in Cocker Spaniels and in Boston Terriers. Cataract can also be acquired. A cloudy film will obscure a dog’s vision after an eye injury. The growth can be the outcome of a nutritional deficiency or a complication that is linked to some health concerns like diabetes. Cataract that spontaneously develops in older dogs is known as senile cataract.

Nuclear sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis is an age related cause of canine eye cloudiness. As the dog gets older, changes occur inside the eyes and cause eye cloudiness and impair vision. The nucleus of the lens that is constantly created is stacked up and becomes denser when compressed by newly grown lens fibers thereby creating eye cloudiness. Although both age related, nuclear sclerosis is differentiated from cataract by the grayish blue tinged and pearly appearance of the cloudy lens. Cataract gives the lens a whitish crushed ice appearance.

Other causes

Eye cloudiness can be due to infection, scarring and inflammation of the cornea. The cloudiness can be due to the accumulation of white blood cells, lipids and fats in front of the lens. Cloudy eye is prevalent in older dogs. As with humans, the vision of a dog is weakened as it gets older. Cloudy eyes though also occur in young dogs. Some cases of eye cloudiness are not emergency situations but as there are several causes for this eye problem it would be best to see a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.


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