Aging dog eyes or nuclear sclerosis

Keria will be 11 years old next month. It’s bound to happen with an older dog although I don’t think of Keira as being a senior. But, I notice a few subtle changes in her eyesight. She’s having a bit of difficulty seeing at night – bumping into furniture -even though the furniture been in the same place for years. Along with the rest of her fluffy self, she now has aging dog eyes. When I look in her eyes, I see a slight graying | cloudiness through her lens. Thinking Keira has cataracts I had her checked out. Thankfully, not cataracts, but she does have Nuclear Sclerosis.

Nuclear Sclerosis or Aging Dog Eyes

I learned quickly that nuclear sclerosis usually affects both eyes at the same time. Typically, subtle changes occur in pets starting at the age of 6 years. The lens becomes solid and thick, which makes the light going to the lens appear to disperse and gives the traditional film of nuclear sclerosis.

Nuclear Sclerosis is part of the typical aging process. That was comforting to know but still a gut check that my Keira girl is a senior. Happily, it’s not painful, and there is no treatment. My vet plans to monitor Keria with her regular 6-month checkup. I’m forever grateful that Keira was not diagnosed with cataracts because it’s a lot more serious.


Aging dog eyes or nuclear sclerosis

Did You Know?

Cataracts are the most common eye disorder in dogs. There are many different types and causes of cataracts, but diabetes is the most common reason. Even though cataracts is relatively common, there is still a lot to learn about this disorder. Interesting, the treatment option is sometimes surgery so it’s worthwhile to know the characteristics of aging dog eyes.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a breakdown of the lens and look like white crushed ice in the eye. No matter what type of cataract the change in the eye is the same. In a perfect state, the lens is 66% water and 33% protein.

The lens contains a sodium water pump system that keeps this water | protein balance in the eye. When the biomechanical system in the lens is damaged, this pump system begins to fail, and extra water moves into the lens which increases the protein.


Giving a dog sight is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a veterinary ophthalmologist. For a blind dog to be able to see again, play with toys and live life as a dog is incredibly impactful. But, cataract surgery is not a life-saving operation, it is a quality of life surgery.

Once cataracts appear there are nutritional supplements that improve lens health by administering antioxidants to the eye. Free radicals are once again rearing their ugly head, and these antioxidants are to the rescue. Improving your dog’s diet with antioxidants may also lower ocular inflammation following surgery.

If your senior pet needed cataract surgery would you decide to have the surgery? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, please share this post if you think it would help another pet owner.







30 Comments on What Everyone Ought To Know About Aging Dog Eyes

  1. Leigh
    June 29, 2017 at 1:24 PM (8 months ago)

    My own dog has been getting up there in years, so I’m so glad I found this post about her eyes. This is great information about what I should look out for with her. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Paul
    May 9, 2017 at 8:17 AM (10 months ago)

    Thanks for sharing. I have a 10 year old dog who’s definitely on the way to losing his eyesight and I’ve been researching for any information I can find. This was very helpful, thank you.

  3. My Dog Store
    May 5, 2017 at 10:25 PM (10 months ago)

    Great read! Thanks for sharing this post.

  4. Chris
    December 23, 2016 at 1:11 AM (1 year ago)

    That’s a big relief that she does not have cataracts. She’s really luck to have you. These eye antioxidants seems very interesting, thank’s for sharing!

  5. Leigh
    November 22, 2016 at 8:25 PM (1 year ago)

    Great info on aging dogs. I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Bryn Nowell
    September 23, 2016 at 9:21 AM (1 year ago)

    I’ve started to notice a change in Bean’s eyes and she just turned seven. For now, the vet says she’s fine but we will continue to monitor more closely. Thanks for sharing this, it’s important for pet owners to be aware of.

    • Maureen Lake
      September 23, 2016 at 3:35 PM (1 year ago)

      For Keira the changes were very slow. Now that she’s (almost) 11 years old, they are pretty apparent. In the evening I definitely make sure we have lots of lights on so she can see good!

  7. Beth Patterson
    September 22, 2016 at 10:42 PM (1 year ago)

    I know that cataract surgery in humans is routine and easy to recover from, but I don’t know about dogs. If it was a minimal risk, I would consider it.

  8. Sadie
    September 22, 2016 at 10:04 AM (1 year ago)

    Great information. I have recently started to wonder if Reese’s eyesight is changing.

  9. The Daily Pip
    September 22, 2016 at 5:08 AM (1 year ago)

    Our previous dog, Pip, developed cataracts in the last years of his life. We tried supplements, but did not do surgery because he also had a host of other issues, including heart disease, that would have made it too risky.

  10. Valerie Desmet
    September 22, 2016 at 1:18 AM (1 year ago)

    We had James is eyes tested for cataract and for now, he’s perfect!! My mother in law her dog is getting blind and it’s so sad :(, when you accidentally move something, he bumps into it 🙁

    • Maureen Lake
      September 23, 2016 at 3:37 PM (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad James’ eyes are good! It’s hard when your dog loses sight. I know Keira does not see as well as she did, especially at night. I make sure I keep lots of lights on for her so she doesn’t hurt herself!

  11. Pawesome Cats
    September 22, 2016 at 12:51 AM (1 year ago)

    Such an informative post, especially about the use of antioxidants. I presume it’s similar for cats.

  12. Tami
    September 21, 2016 at 11:16 PM (1 year ago)

    Ah yes, Daisy has aging eyes as well. And crusty eyes. And periodically goopy eyes. ;0) Ahh, life with an aging mastiff. 🙂 Great post with good information, thanks!

  13. Sweet Purrfections
    September 21, 2016 at 9:44 PM (1 year ago)

    I remember noticing changes in my first cat as she aged and her eyes were definitely changing. Thank you for sharing this information.

  14. Jodi Chick
    September 21, 2016 at 9:27 PM (1 year ago)

    Felix is due for an opthamology exam, as his dusk/night vision isn’t what it used to be. I would have to think long and hard about cataract surgery. He doesn’t take anesthetic particularly well and that would be my biggest concern. If it could be done safely? I’d do it in a heart beat.

    • Maureen Lake
      September 23, 2016 at 3:39 PM (1 year ago)

      I agree. I’m not sure I’d but Keira through elective surgery at her age. If it could be done some other way than a general I would in a heart beat too!

  15. Talent Hounds
    September 21, 2016 at 9:06 PM (1 year ago)

    I have never had a dog with eye problems luckily- Cookie the lab was 13.5 when cancer got her and Isabelle was almost 17. Pugs are very prone to eye issues apparently, so I’ll balance the benefits and cons if the time comes with Kilo. Aging sucks.

  16. Katie
    September 21, 2016 at 6:49 PM (1 year ago)

    Gracie will be a senior in a few years, so I need to start thinking about things like this. Right now her eyes are fine, but I’ll definitely be looking out for signs of aging eyes! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Tonya Wilhelm
    September 21, 2016 at 6:28 PM (1 year ago)

    Great post. It’s so important to stay proactive with our pet’s care.

  18. Sarcastic Dog
    September 21, 2016 at 4:55 PM (1 year ago)

    Zora is 13 1/2 and we are starting to see many more “older dog” issues show up. She recently had a bout with vestibular disease and when I took her in they checked her eyes. They didn’t mention nuclear sclerosis but did say that her eyes were starting to look like older dog eyes. They didn’t really give me any suggestions for maintaining her eye sight so now I’m wondering if we should go back in for a more thorough check up. Thanks for this post!

  19. Ruth Epstein
    September 21, 2016 at 4:53 PM (1 year ago)

    Thanks so much for the great info, have bookmarked for future

  20. Kandace
    September 21, 2016 at 3:54 PM (1 year ago)

    Great post! We see so many pups come in to our hospital with “aging eyes” and they have no idea what it is. They’re pleased to know it is just old age and not cancer or anything else too serious. But they would definitely benefit from reading a post like this.

  21. Lola The Rescued Cat
    September 21, 2016 at 2:47 PM (1 year ago)

    You write such informative posts. This is good information for owners of aging dogs.

  22. Tenacious Little Terrier
    September 21, 2016 at 12:50 PM (1 year ago)

    Mr. N was examined by an ophthalmologist last year. I’ll probably take him again in a a year or two.

  23. Rachel
    September 21, 2016 at 12:02 PM (1 year ago)

    What a great post, thank you for the information! We have a 14-year-old dog and I can tell his eyes aren’t as great as they used to be, so this touches close to home for me.

  24. Kelly
    September 21, 2016 at 9:23 AM (1 year ago)

    Would I have surgery for my dog? I see many pugs that are blind or going blind. I used to be very frightend of the fact this could happen to Edie. But! I see how these dogs manage and how their lives are still very full.I think the decision, if needed to be made, will be a discussion I would have with my vet so that I could weigh out all the pros and cons.

  25. Malaika Fernandes
    September 21, 2016 at 8:36 AM (1 year ago)

    Very informative post thank you for sharing this

  26. Rebecca at MattieDog
    September 19, 2016 at 6:27 PM (1 year ago)

    We learned so much from this post – and we’ve had two senior dogs, one with very limited vision in one eye and the other dog lost his eyesight all together. I did not know that we could provide antioxidants to our pups eye! What is it exactly? Thanks for sharing this – we loved learning more!

    • Maureen Lake
      September 20, 2016 at 9:48 AM (1 year ago)

      Hi Rebecca, The antioxidants are in pill form as a supplement. Here is a link: I use the product with Keira but I’m not affiliated with them at all…just sharing. Thanks for the kind comments!


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