Definition of Cataracts
The term “cataract” refers to cloudiness or opacity of all or part of an eye. This is due to a change in the make-up or arrangement of protein molecules in the lens. Cataracts usually are hereditary, but not always. Other things that can contribute to cataracts are poor nutrition, low calcium levels, diabetes, electric shock, blunt or penetrating eye trauma and exposure to toxins or radiation. Cataracts can show up suddenly or slowly. They are fairly common in old dogs but can be there when a puppy is born or develop early in its life. Cataracts always interfere with vision and can cause blindness. However, they don’t seem to be painful and won’t affect a dog’s overall health. Dogs usually adjust surprisingly well to having cataracts. Fortunately, most cataracts are treatable with surgery, if they are diagnosed early enough in the course of the disease.