What is nuclear sclerosis?
Nuclear sclerosis is a normal aging process of the lens. The central zone of the lens, also known as the nucleus, becomes denser and appears as a grey haze within the eye. Humans, dogs, cats, and horses are all affected by nuclear sclerosis. Without proper instruments it can be difficult to diagnose nuclear sclerosis from a cataract that will progress to vision loss.
Will nuclear sclerosis cause blindness?
No. In humans, nuclear sclerosis results in presbyopia, which is a loss of the ability of the lens to accommodate. Accommodation is the mechanism used to maintain focus on objects that are close up. It is important for reading, watching TV, etc. Nuclear sclerosis is the reason that most people at about 45 years of age require reading glasses. Your pets visual acuity will be slightly decreased secondary to nuclear sclerosis, however, these deficits are minimal.
Do you have to treat nuclear sclerosis?
No. Nuclear sclerosis is a normal aging change. It is not painful.
Should the eyes continue to be monitored?
It is usually not required but it may be a good idea to have your pet's eyes checked annually since true cataracts can form in older animals and these can lead to vision loss. Fortunately, the vision loss from cataracts can be restored in most cases with cataract surgery.