How To Test Dogs Vision

Now look for indications of other, less frequent eye problems. Check to see if there is no cloudiness in the eye and if the pupils are the same size (a mismatch may suggest head trauma, macular degeneration, or exposure to chemicals, but sometimes cures itself) (cloudiness may indicate cataracts). If your dog is experiencing vision problems, you might notice that he or she keeps running into objects and even into you. They might not see a toy you throw at a specific distance.

You can also test your dog’s threat reflex if you are concerned about this. This denotes vision impairment ranging from moderate to severe. Hold out your hand with the palm facing your dog’s face at a distance of about 18 inches. Quickly advance your hand until it is roughly 3 inches away from your dog’s face. Your dog ought to budge. Test each eye separately if there is no response, then contact your veterinarian.

How can I check the vision of my dog at home?

  • The pupils don’t enlarge in a dark place or contract in a bright light.
  • He’s not looking at you as much as he used to.

As a co-founder of Dog Nerds and a veterinarian at Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, Lisa Radosta says, “You might notice your dog rushing into furniture, but especially new things in the house.” “Dogs who lose their vision gradually have a detailed memory of their surroundings. They might trip over or fall into something new when it is introduced into the surroundings.”

According to Radosta, you might also notice that individuals have poor vision at night or when there are lots of shadows. She continues, “This could show as a fear of going outside or a snapping at lights or shadows.” Some dogs may also begin to pause when crossing thresholds or other transitions with a step.

Memphis Veterinary Specialists (MVS) adds that from a more physical perspective, you might observe that your dog’s eyes seem clouded or that their pupils have ceased dilation when exposed to light. Eyes that are puffy, red, or swollen are another clear indicator.

Testing Your Dog’s Eyesight

Make sure to speak with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s vision. To test your dog’s vision, you can also use a Menace Reflex Test at home. Simply place your hand 18 inches from your dog’s face to do the test. Then swiftly move your hand such that it is about three inches from your dog’s face. If your dog is vision-impaired, he should react by blinking his eyes or turning his head. Otherwise, there may be a problem with his vision.

Another test you can do to evaluate your dog’s vision is the cotton ball test. To do this, take a cotton ball and hold it in front of your dog’s eyes. Then, throw it wherever you like to see how your dog responds. If your dog doesn’t move, it could be a sign that he has poor vision, in which case you should take him to the doctor right once.

How can I determine whether my dog has a vision issue?

Dogs can experience vision loss and the difficulties of being blind, just like their canine companions. Today, our Cordova veterinarians discuss how to recognize your dog’s early visual impairment and what to do if you think your dog may be losing their sight.

Dogs are absolutely remarkable creatures, and many of us consider our canine friends to be important members of our families.

Your dog’s eyes might reveal important details about their general physical condition. The health of your dog’s eyes can be a sign of several serious problems, including liver disease, diabetes, anemia, poisoning, head trauma, pain, auto-immune diseases, and cancer. Your veterinarian may be able to make your dog’s eyes more comfortable and possibly save or restore its vision by recognizing the early signs of eye disorders.

Symptoms of Vision Problems

The following are some of the most typical signs that show your dog may be losing their vision, whether they are brought on by aging or other medical issues:

  • eye look that is cloudy
  • Your dog keeps running into things.
  • signs of trepidation or fear when visiting new places
  • Your dog has abruptly stopped doing things they normally did, such climbing stairs or jumping onto furniture.
  • eyes are swollen, puffy, or red.
  • obvious ocular irritability or facial pawing
  • If your dog appears uncertain, disoriented, or easily scared


Dogs may experience visual impairments as a result of aging, illness, trauma, and inherited disorders. In actuality, eyesight loss in dogs can occur naturally as they age and can range from small problems to total blindness. Having said that, it’s crucial for pet parents to understand that blindness may occasionally be a symptom of a more serious ailment, such as heart disease, kidney or liver problems, or systemic diseases rather than the main problem.


  • Sadly, our veterinarians are witnessing an increase in the number of diabetic canines. Older large breed dogs, breeding females, fat dogs, and dogs with inadequate diets are dogs who are more likely to get diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of cataract development in dogs by 75%, which can cause complete or partial blindness.


  • Parents of pets can quickly detect cataracts. You can see a foggy appearance in your dog’s eye if the cataracts have advanced. Dogs with this ailment risk being completely blind because it prevents light from reaching the retina entirely. Early management is crucial since cataracts can sometimes be removed surgically, potentially saving a person’s sight.


  • Glaucoma is a painful eye ailment that has migraine-like symptoms. Glaucoma can be treated, but the best results come from catching the disease in its earliest stages. Visit your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog’s eyes are discharged with yellow or green color, has dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes, or is slow to react to strong light. If this painful illness is not addressed, it may result in partial or total blindness.

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome

  • Blindness in both of the dog’s eyes results from Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), which wreaks havoc on the retina. This illness can cause complete blindness in dogs within a few of days or weeks of its onset. Dogs with SARDS may have a very hard time getting used to their vision loss because this condition is so abrupt.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

  • A painless illness called progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) causes the retina to deteriorate and could cause blindness in both of the dog’s eyes. Due to the slower rate of development of PRA compared to SARDS, your dog may have more time to get used to losing their sight.

Treatment of Vision Problems in Dogs

The problems that cause dogs to lose their vision typically do not get better on their own. To assist your dog cope with their vision loss or to treat the condition and maybe save their eyesight, early intervention is crucial.

Some illnesses that can cause blindness can also cause other health problems, or your dog’s blindness may be a sign of something more serious. The best method to stop more issues and maybe save your dog’s sight is to schedule a comprehensive evaluation with your veterinarian.

How do veterinarians examine a dog’s eyes?

Most likely, the veterinarian will tap the eye’s surface gently with a tool that resembles a pen. This device measures the pressure in the eyes. Glaucoma is indicated by high pressure, while uveitis may be indicated by low pressure (inflammation of an interior layer of the eye).

Can a veterinarian detect a dog’s blindness?

If your dog can see, many obstacles and situations are not harmful, but if they can’t see, they become dangerous. Blind dogs can get into all kinds of difficulties when they are outside, including walking in front of cars, falling down stairs, bumping against sharp objects, and more. It’s critical that you schedule a visit with your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog is experiencing vision problems. It is a good idea to visit your veterinarian at least once a year because there are numerous causes of blindness in dogs and you might not be able to detect a loss of eyesight. Even during a routine check-up, the vet will be able to identify if your dog is visually impaired.

For your dog, the inability to sight can be a terrible and even fatal condition. Blindness can occur as a symptom of another illness, such as diabetes, or it might come from an injury. In some cases, blindness is caused by a hereditary illness you were unaware your dog had. The truth is that because dogs are so skilled at adapting, it can often be challenging for you to determine whether your dog is blind. Nevertheless, you might notice that your pet is stumbling over objects, become frightened of loud noises, and refusing to play or go outside. Because your dog is unaware of what is happening and finds it upsetting, this is frequently the result of fear.

The quality of life for a blind dog can still be good and cheerful, despite the diagnosis. Your pet’s wellbeing may be benefited by your encouragement and reinforcement during walks and as you train your canine partner to adjust.

How old do dogs go blind?

Numerous illnesses have the potential to impair a dog’s vision and render them blind. Cataracts, SARDS, and glaucoma are some of the most typical diseases that lead to blindness in dogs.


One of the most typical medical reasons for canine visual loss is cataracts. When a protein changes and affects the eye’s lens, a pet can get cataracts. Parents who own pets can quickly and easily see the change.

The lens develops a hazy, white layer as a result of this protein. As the lens gets darker and darker, the dog’s vision will get worse. The dog’s retina cannot receive light because of the lens’s clouding. Some dogs with cataracts may experience a gradual loss of vision, but other dogs may appear to lose their vision suddenly. Diabetes increases the risk of cataract development in dogs.


The main factor causing sudden blindness in dogs is Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration, or SARDS. A dog with SARDS, a degenerative eye disease, will suddenly go blind after being otherwise healthy. The majority of SARDS-affected dogs are blind indefinitely, yet the condition is not unpleasant.


Glaucoma causes blindness by increasing pressure in the eye from fluid. Glaucoma can affect one or both eyes and is a painful condition.

A veterinarian may be able to save a pet’s vision if they act swiftly to relieve the pressure in the eyes. Most glaucoma cases in dogs are discovered when they are three to seven years old. Dogs will go entirely blind if glaucoma is not treated.


Diabetes in dogs is becoming more common. The likelihood of a large breed dog having diabetes is higher than that of a breeding female, an overweight dog, or a dog with inadequate nutrition. One frequent side effect of diabetes is blindness. Diabetes causes cataracts in 75% of dogs, which can cause partial or total blindness. Cataracts typically appear in diabetic dogs within the first year after diagnosis.

Other illnesses including retinal detachment, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), or traumatic injury can also make a dog blind.

Are dog glasses necessary?

To begin with, a dog’s natural vision is less precise than that of a human. In other words, even with ‘normal’ canine vision, a dog with a driver’s license would need corrective eyewear.

People’s bad eyesight is important for different reasons than dogs’ poor eyesight. Poor lens accommodation or oddly shaped eyes, which are easily fixed with glasses, frequently cause issues with human vision.

However, inherited retinal degenerative diseases, glaucoma, and cataracts are more common in dogs. Another significant distinction is how well dogs adapt to vision impairment. The dog’s existing keen senses of smell, touch, and hearing take on additional responsibilities to help them navigate through a familiar setting or stroll, potentially reducing their reliance on good vision.

Visual Appearance of the Eyes

Occasionally, all it takes is a short glance at your dog’s eyes to see that they are blind. Cataracts are one of many disorders that impair vision and can lead to blindness. You might be able to see these problems in a room that is well-lit.

These issues typically manifest as cloudiness or fuzzy patches in the eyes. These could be glaucoma symptoms, which are more prevalent in older dogs. Looking into your dog’s eyes can also reveal some developmental issues. You may also be able to detect any physical injuries that may have contributed to blindness.

An infection can cause discharge and crusty buildup, which might impair your dog’s vision.

Of course, you’ll need to confirm this with your veterinarian. Try not to diagnose your dog only from your observations. However, if you observe any of these signs, it is clear that you need to contact your veterinarian.

Perform a Few Tests

A few tests are frequently used to assess someone’s vision. There are numerous canine equivalent tests. These might not be able to specify just how visually impaired your dog is, but they might help you figure out if they have any vision issues. Your veterinarian will need to assess the severity of the issue.

The most typical visual examination is gently stroking your pet’s eyes. They ought to enlarge like a person’s eyes. If not, it is probably an indication that the eyes aren’t even sensing the light. The last thing to go is usually light, therefore this is a symptom of significant vision loss. You should check with your veterinarian to be sure, as this could reveal the reason for the blindness.

Another common visual exam is the Menace Response Test. Your dog’s face should be about a foot away from your open palm when you first begin. After then, rapidly reach out to touch your dog. Avoid touching your dog or moving your hand quickly enough to create an air current. The sole indication that you are approaching your dog should be the visual of your hand.

Your dog will be able to see your hand if they blink or flinch. If they can’t, they’ll probably just sit there without a clue. It’s possible that this test won’t pick up on minor eyesight issues. Even if they can’t see it well, your dog might be able to sense the basic shape of your hand approaching them, which could make them blink or recoil.

Another exercise includes dropping something in front of your dog’s face from above. The thing can be something small, like a cotton ball, or it could even be a beloved toy. But it shouldn’t make any noise. Your dog should follow the thing with its eyes as soon as it comes into its line of sight. If they don’t, it could be that they are unable to view it.

Usually, a number of tests are carried out to establish whether your dog is blind or has some sort of visual impairment. It won’t take just one test to make a determination. Multiple failed tests, however, are a surefire indication that your dog is blind.

You should consult your veterinarian if your dog doesn’t react as expected to these tests when you conduct them at home. They’ll probably also run the tests.

Keep an Eye on Your Dog

You might not always need to run any tests. The way your dog navigates their surroundings and engages with their environment may make your dog’s blindness obvious. If your dog keeps running into recently relocated objects, it may be a clear indication that their vision needs to be improved. Another indication is trepidation and anxiety being in a new environment. When your dog is blind, being in an unfamiliar environment may make them anxious. Aggression might also increase. Blind dogs might not always recognize an object, which might lead to fear aggression.

Your dog can suddenly refuse to perform routine tasks like jumping on furniture or going upstairs or downstairs. They may be unable to see the steps or struggle to judge their jumps, which causes them to completely shun the activities.

The first indication that your dog’s vision is failing could be their inability to discern depth or distance.