Does Your Jack Need Glasses?

The Jack Russell Terrier is a hardy little soul. Unlike a lot of breeds, the JRT generally has good health, and is not prone to a lot of the congenital problems that plague other purebreds.

However, two of the problems to which the Jack Russell Terrier is prone are eye diseases.

Moreover, as recent research has shown, all dogs see light in the ultraviolet spectrum. Is this light harmful to their eyes like it is to human eyes?

You don't see a lot of dogs rocking specs outside of a Halloween costume. But both protective sunglasses and corrective lenses for dogs do exist.

What do you think? Does your Jack need glasses?

Canine Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. It happens slowly, over time, but leads to blurry vision, decreased color vision, and problems seeing at night. Half of all cataracts lead to blindness.

As we age, we all become more susceptible to cataracts, and dogs are no exception. Jacks, however, are genetically prone to them.

Symptoms

Since your dog can't tell you if he or she is having trouble seeing, it's good to have your vet check for cataracts, especially as your Jack ages. You may also notice a cloudy appearance to your dog's eyes. In this case, it's important to contact your vet.

Treatment

If your vet diagnoses your buddy with cataracts, they may suggest one of a number of different kinds of surgeries.

Primary Lens Luxation

Lens Luxation means that the eye's lens has become displaced. This is a painful condition that comes on suddenly. Blindness usually follows, and without surgery, quickly, that blindness can become permanent.

Image CC0, by Cliker Vector Free Images, via Pixabay

What causes this to happen?

Well, the eye has fibrous strands called zonules that hold the lens in place. Sometimes these strands become weak and can no longer keep the lens attached. When this happens, there are typically two outcomes.

First, the lens may become trapped in the front part of the eye. This will eventually cause glaucoma.

Alternately, the lens may harm the retina and cause the retina to detach.

Both of these outcomes are very painful, and can result in blindness.

In most cases, the weakness of the zonules is hereditary. In hereditary cases, the dog will usually experience luxation in both eyes.

Symptoms

Symptoms come on quickly and get worse fast.

First, you may notice your dog's eye is red. There may also be a bluish tinge around the cornea. Once the lens has dislocated, however, it's pretty easy to see.

Treatment

The most common treatment is surgery to remove the lens in the affected eye. Since the problem is likely to occur in both eyes eventually, your vet may recommend removing the lenses of both eyes. There are also eyedrops that can help to prevent the problem from occurring in the healthy eye.

What About UV Damage?

If you live in an area with bright and constant sunlight, your doctor may recommend UV protection for your eyes. This is because over time, ultraviolet rays damage the eyes, leading to vision problems.

Because dogs have considerably shorter lifespans, they don't have to worry so much about UV damage over time. However, there may be other reasons your Jack might consider sporting some shades.

Does your pal like to stick his or her head out the window while you drive? Well, this may put their eyes at risk of two things. First, the quickly-passing air may dry out their eyes, leaving them uncomfortable. There is also a risk of flying debris.

But in this case, a silly pair of human sunglasses will only go flying off. A number of manufacturers do, however, produce sunglasses made specifically for dogs. These are goggles-style glasses with an elastic band. And you can pick up a pair online for less than $10.

What About Glasses for Dogs?

Just like humans, not all dogs have perfect 20/20 vision. Some are nearsighted, some are farsighted, and some have other problems.

Although doggy specs aren't mainstream yet, one company is working on it. Doggles is working with veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Brinkman to produce corrective eyewear for dogs.

Because dogs don't have as many kinds of prescriptions as humans, it's pretty easy for a doggy eye doctor to figure out what kind of specs are needed.

And, also unlike human eyeglasses, you can get a pair of prescription doggo lenses for less than $100.


Doggles makes prescription eyewear for dogs, but they also make doggy sunglasses. And they're not just fashion statements. Doggles also makes protective sunglasses for military working dogs and canine first responders.

Does Your Dog Need Glasses?

If you're concerned about your Jack's vision, or any other health issue, it's important to see your vet right away. Your vet may refer you to a canine ophthalmologist, or they may make a diagnosis based on their own exam.

Even if your dog is generally healthy, he or she may benefit from canine sunglasses. As for prescription spectacles? That's for your vet to decide.