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Lens Luxation in Dogs

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Tags: Lens Luxation, Genetic Disorders, Eye Disorders, Health

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Lens luxation is only one of a host of ailments that can affect a dog's eyes. This inherited disorder, if untreated, can lead to glaucoma and inflammation called uveitis, both of which are painful and can lead to blindness. In this article, we'll learn about lens luxation, its symptoms and treatment, as well as which breeds are most at risk to inherit this disease.

What is lens luxation?

Obviously, lens luxation affects the lens of the eye, which is found between the iris, or the colored part of the eye, and the pupil, the darkest part of the eye. Its function is to focus light onto the back of the eye, or the retina. The lens is suspended and held in place by zonular ligaments, which are tiny fibers. Lens luxation occurs when these ligaments break down and the lens is dislodged from its normal position.

What causes lens luxation?

The number one cause of lens luxation is that it is inherited. Some of the breeds that are predisposed to inherit lens luxation include many of the terrier breeds, Border Collies, Brittany spaniels, German Shepherds and Welsh Corgis. Breeders are highly discouraged from breeding dogs that have this disease, but because it often doesn't become apparent until the dog has reached between three and six years of age, the dogs have often already been bred.

Lens luxation can also be a secondary problem caused by inflammation, glaucoma, cataracts, cancer or trauma to the head.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As soon as a dog seems to be experiencing problems in the eyes, such as redness, inflammation or discharge, he should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist can detect lens luxation with a thorough eye exam. The vet will also be looking for signs of glaucoma and inflammation. Because lens luxation can cause glaucoma and vise versa, it will be important to determine which disease was first present in order to supply the best treatment.

If the disease is found early enough and before inflammation and glaucoma have occurred, it will be possible to perform surgery on the eye to remove the lens. In the best cases, the lens can be replaced with an artificial lens. If the dog has already lost sight in the eye affected, removing the lens will not be beneficial, so the only thing to do is help relieve the dog's pain, sometimes in the removal of the eye.

Because the disease usually develops in one eye before the other, the vet may perform an exam on the unaffected eye to see if the lens has luxated. In some cases, he may remove the lens at that time in order to prevent the disease to progress so far that the sight cannot be saved.

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