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Cloudy Eye in Dogs

By: Dr. Noelle McNabb

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Numerous changes in the cornea of the eye may result in cloudiness, including:

  • Corneal ulceration or infection from bacteria, fungi or yeast

  • Corneal scarring from eyelash disorders; inrolling of the eyelids; exposure of the cornea to foreign bodies, drying, heat, smoke, chemicals; eye injury or trauma; inability to blink properly and protect the eye; decreased sensation on the surface of the cornea and resulting poor protection of the cornea; prior corneal surgery

  • Corneal inflammation from inadequate tear production (keratoconjunctivitis sicca; dry eye syndrome), pannus, etc.

  • Corneal lipid deposition that may be inherited (breed-related) or acquired as a result of chronic corneal disease, high fat/cholesterol levels in the body, or chronic hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels)

  • Corneal mineralization (calcium deposits) from chronic corneal disease or associated with chronic kidney disease or certain hormonal diseases, ulceration or metabolic disease

  • Invasion of the cornea with tumor cells (rare)

  • Invasion of the cornea with dark, pigmented cells secondary to dryness, exposure or inflammation

  • Development of corneal edema associated with age or with premature degeneration of the cornea, from glaucoma, in association with inflammation of the interior of the eye, secondary to prior surgery of the cornea, etc.

    Numerous changes in the front chamber and fluid of the eye may cause visible cloudiness:

  • Cloudiness of the fluid in the front chamber from inflammation (uveitis), hemorrhage, trauma, or leakage of fatty material into the eye (from the blood stream)

  • Movement of the lens into the front chamber, particularly if the lens has developed an opaque cataract or is causing corneal edema

  • Collapse of the chamber with movement of the iris towards the front of the eye (secondary to penetrating trauma, lens movement, glaucoma, etc.)

  • Growth of tumor from the iris into the front chamber

    Changes of the lens that cause cloudiness in the eye include:

  • Cataract formation

  • Nuclear sclerosis. This is an age-related lens hardening resulting in an 'opalescent' color change to the lens

  • Congenital defects in the blood vessels around the lens

    Changes of the vitreous that may cause obvious clouding of the eye include:

  • Congenital defects of the front portion of the vitreous

  • Vitreal opacities (floaters) that accumulate with inflammation around or within vitreous

  • Hemorrhage in to the vitreous

  • Detachment and forward movement of an opaque retina into the front of the vitreous

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