Our canine companions can lose their vision and struggle with the challenges of going blind, much like people. So it's important to know the early signs of visual impairment in dogs, and what you should do if you suspect your dog may be losing sight. Our Los Angeles vets explain more...

Your Dog's Vision

Dogs are wonderful, loving animals, and for many of us, our canine companions play an important role in their families' day-to-day lives.

Your pup's eyes give clues to vital information about the state of their overall physical health. Serious conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, anemia, poisoning, head trauma, pain, auto-immune diseases, and cancer can all present indicators in the health of your dog's eyes. By spotting the symptoms of eye conditions early, your vet may be able to help your dog's eyes feel more comfortable, and possibly preserve or restore your dog's vision. 

Signs of Vision Impairment

Whether it's due to aging or other health conditions, below are a few of the most common symptoms that suggest your dog may be losing their vision:

  • Cloudy appearance of the eye
  • Your dog is bumping into objects
  • Signs of anxiety or hesitation when in new places
  • Your dog is suddenly unable to go up or down stairs or jump onto the furniture as it used to.
  • Red, puffy, or swollen eyes
  • Clearly irritated eyes or pawing at the face
  • If your dog seems confused, dazed, easily startled


Visual impairments and blindness can occur in dogs due to aging, disease, injury, and hereditary conditions. In fact, your dog's natural aging process can sometimes include vision loss, ranging from minor issues to complete blindness. That said, it's important for pet parents to understand that occasionally blindness itself isn't the primary issue, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition, such as heart disease, kidney or liver disorders, or systemic diseases.

Common Dog Vision Problems & Health Concerns

Diabetes in Dogs

  • Our Los Angeles vets are seeing an increasing number of dogs suffering from diabetes. Dogs at a higher risk of becoming diabetic include older large breeds, breeding females, dogs that have poor nutrition, and obese dogs. 75% of dogs with diabetes are likely to develop cataracts which can result in full or partial blindness.

Dog Cataracts

  • Cataracts are easily detected by pet owners. If your dog's cataracts have progressed, you may notice a cloudy appearance in his or her eye. This condition prevents light from reaching the retina completely and can result in total blindness in dogs. Cataracts can be operated on in some cases, potentially preventing blindness, but early intervention is critical.

Dog Glaucoma

  • Glaucoma is a painful eye condition that feels like a migraine. Glaucoma treatment is available; however, the best outcomes occur when the condition is detected in its early stages. If your dog has yellow or green discharge from their eyes, dilated pupils, or bloodshot eyes, or is slow to react to bright light, take them to the vet right away. If left untreated, this painful condition can result in partial or total blindness.

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome in Dogs

  • Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) causes a deterioration of the retina, which leads to blindness in both of the dog's eyes. This syndrome develops very quickly in dogs and can result in total blindness in just a few days or weeks. Due to the sudden nature of this condition, dogs with SARDS can have a very difficult time adjusting to their visual impairment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a painless condition that causes the retina to deteriorate, potentially resulting in blindness in both of the dog's eyes. PRA is an inherited condition that progresses more slowly than SARDS, giving your dog more time to adjust to its blindness.

Treatment of Vision Problems in Dogs

The conditions that cause dog vision loss do not usually resolve on their own. Early intervention is critical for assisting your dog in coping with its loss of vision, as well as treating the condition and possibly preserving your dog's eyesight.

In some cases, conditions that could lead to blindness may trigger other health issues, or your dog's blindness could turn out to be a symptom of a larger medical concern. Making an appointment with your vet for a full examination is the best way to prevent further complications, and possibly save your dog's sight.

Veterinary Ophthalmology at Washington Dog and Cat Hospital in Los Angeles

Because there are certain pet eye conditions that can be reversed if they’re diagnosed in their early stages, we place a strong emphasis on the preventive portion of our ophthalmology services.

Some of the most common eye problems our vets treat include:
  • Cataracts
  • Scratches / Abrasions
  • Drainage
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Infections
  • Vision Loss
  • Tumors
  • Auto-Immune Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Scratches / Abrasions
  • Drainage
  • Corneal Ulcers

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is suffering from vision problems, contact our Los Angeles vets to book an appointment for your pooch.