Animal Eye Care – Cataracts
Information on Cataracts
Pre-cataract screening (ERG/US)
The retina is a membrane located at the back of the eye that sends visual information to the brain. A normal healthy retina is essential for good vision. At Animal Eye Associates, we routinely perform two diagnostic tests to assess retinal function:
- Electroretinogram (ERG). For this test a contact lens electrode is placed on the eye (which has been anesthetized with numbing drops) and a light source is focused on the retina through the contact lens, which returns a signal to a computer in the form of a wave pattern — this wave pattern shows how well the retina is functioning.
- Ultrasound of the eye. This test can reveal detachment or other abnormalities within the eye that might not be visible through the cataract in the lens. These tests are non-invasive, are performed with the pet awake and take approximately 30 minutes.
A cataract is a cloudy change to the lens in the eye. We commonly see cataracts in dogs, but it can happen in any species. Cataracts in dogs are similar to those in humans; however, in dogs, cataracts progress more rapidly, can cause inflammation, and commonly lead to complete loss of vision. It is very important to have a complete ophthalmic exam once any cloudiness to the eye is noticed. Cataracts can develop rapidly in dogs with diabetes; in fact, ~80% of diabetic dogs will develop cataracts. Cataracts can also be breed- or age-related. With or without surgery, long-term eye drops may be needed to reduce inflammation and help prevent glaucoma. Once it is determined that the cataract is suitable for surgery, the method of choice for removal is called phacoemulsification. This is the same procedure used to remove cataracts in the human eye, and once removed, the cataract will never come back.
In the collage below, you can see a cataract being removed by one of our canine opthamologists. After the cataract is removed, we place a foldable acrylic artificial lens to restore vision to as normal as possible, allowing them to see up close and far away. The board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Associates use the most advanced equipment to perform cataract surgery, and provide medical recommendations before and after surgery.
Please feel free to contact our animal eye clinic to discuss any questions you may have about cataracts or the surgical procedure (phacoemulsification) to remove cataracts.