LASIK for Dogs? What To Do When Fido Has Trouble Seeing
I was hoping this day wouldn’t come. My 11-year-old mini poodle, Mia, has started to have trouble seeing the tennis ball and climbing stairs in the dark. Luckily, her eyes aren’t so bad that she’s bumping into furniture, but she has made me wonder about LASIK procedures for our furry friends. Is there such thing as LASIK for dogs and other pets?
It turns out there is! While it’s not the same as the LASIK procedures that we humans get, different forms of laser eye surgery do exist to correct certain eye conditions in pets. Even though LASIK MD does not perform laser vision correction on animals, veterinarian ophthalmologists (eye vets) can do a similar procedure for dogs, depending on the animal’s condition.
Cataracts, Glaucoma, Nuclear Sclerosis?
I assumed that Mia was developing cataracts, but her vision problems could be caused by several other things. A cataract refers to any opacity of the lens and can occur over weeks or years, in one eye or both. It’s important to note that most age-related cataracts in dogs are quite small and don’t significantly affect vision, and while canine cataract surgery is available, it isn’t the same as laser vision correction.
Laser eye surgery is, however, a good remedy for glaucoma, a disease which causes poor or worsening vision in dogs. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. The eye can appear swollen, red, or sore with glaucoma, but the disease often goes unnoticed until it is more severe, so regular eye checks at the vet are a good idea. These checks can tell you if your dog could be a candidate for laser eye surgery, due to glaucoma or other eye issues.
Many older dogs’ eyes can look cloudy. This is caused by a hardening of the lens, called nuclear sclerosis, which is common in older dogs. The good news is that nuclear sclerosis usually does not interfere with a dog’s ability to see, and only rarely leads to problematic cataracts later.
Considering Laser Eye Surgery For Your Dog? Here’s What to Expect
If you think your dog has glaucoma, or you’re worried about your dog’s vision in general, take him to the vet for a consultation. The vet may refer Noodles (or your equally awesome name for your four-legged companion) to a veterinary ophthalmologist, since only he or she can determine whether a dog or pet should have laser eye surgery.
The laser treatment for for dogs is similar to LASIK for humans in the sense that they both only take a few minutes, and your dog can come home on the same day or the day after. Fluffy will, however, need to wear a cone collar and restrict her physical activity for a few weeks. You’ll also have to administer eye drops four to five times daily during this period, and come for follow-up visits with the vet at the two-week, six-week, three-month, and six-month marks following the procedure.
So, rest assured that it’s possible to get laser eye surgery for dogs if they need it. Until then, just make sure there are no sharp furniture edges that Fido will run into!