Causes of Canine Blindness
Any condition that blocks light from getting to the retina can impair a dog’s vision. This includes diseases of or damage to the cornea, retina or other structures of the eye. Blindness can be caused by cataracts, glaucoma, uveitis, corneal trauma, corneal ulceration, lens luxation, retinal detachment, retinal hemorrhage, retinal degeneration, retinal atrophy, cerebral (brain) lesions affecting the optic nerve (congenital optic nerve hypoplasia, inflammation [optic neuritis], neoplasia [cancer], trauma, atrophy, abscess, optic chiasm lesions), cerebral swelling (edema), ivermectin toxicity, lead toxicity and inflammatory, infectious or neoplastic diseases of the brain.
Many causes of canine blindness have a suspected genetic basis and may be highly breed and age-specific. Vision disorders seem to be more prevalent in white-colored dogs, including white Boxers and white Great Danes.
Prevention of Canine Blindness
Because of the numerous and unrelated potential causes of canine blindness, there is no realistic way to describe a sensible prevention protocol.
The inactivity of aging dogs is most commonly attributed simply to “old age.” However, it may also be due in part to failing eyesight, which can make a dog reluctant to move around, even in a supposedly familiar environment. A blind or visually impaired dog should not be turned loose in unfamiliar surroundings, and the furniture in familiar areas should not be rearranged. Blind dogs have a “mental map” of their environment and typically navigate extremely well within the confines of their familiar home.