There are a number of myths associated with dog eyesight. Most dog owners believe that their canine friends are totally color blind. While it is true that dogs rely more on their olfactory and auditory senses more than the eyesight, a dog's sight is as important to it. However, compared to humans, dogs see the world from a different visual perspective.
The reason for this dog eyesight development is very simple. Dogs are predators, and unlike the prey animals that have eyes on the sides of their heads to increase the field of vision, dogs have an eyesight that increases its ability to focus on the prey and distinguish texture, brightness, and most importantly the movement.
A Biological Perspective
The eyes of a dog are similar to human eyes with the retinal covering over the eyeballs containing two types of light sensitive cells, cones and rods. The color perception and the details of the vision are controlled by the cones, while the eyesight of a dog at night, is controlled by the rods which is able to detect the motion.
Due to the larger concentration of the rods as compared to the cones, dogs are able to detect the motion better. This low concentration of cones also is the factor that has given rise to the myth that dogs are unable to see color.
According to veterinarians, dogs are able to see colors the way a colorblind human would see. Color blind people have a trichromatic or a dichromatic vision. Similarly dogs too are unable to distinguish certain colors like the reds and the greens.
The set of the dog's eyes may vary with the breed but the general angle is somewhere around twenty degrees. This helps in increasing the peripheral vision and the field of view of the dog.
While the peripheral sight helps the dog have a wider field of vision, it also results in a compromised binocular vision. Along with that, they have less visual acuity and unlike humans with a perfect 20/20 vision, they are unable to see things from far off.
Dog Eyesight Problems
Dogs are prone to a number of eyes problems, which can range from mild eye irritation to serious cataract problems. Some common canine eye diseases include:
- Canine cataracts
- Corneal Ulcer
- Pink Eye
- Eye injuries
- Eye Infections
- Ingrown eyelids
- Eyelid tumors
- Cherry eye in dogs
- Inflammation and uveitis of eyes
- Rabbit eye
- Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
- Retinal dysplasia
- Corneal dystrophy
In addition to these eye problems in dogs, blindness is also a common eyesight problem, which can either be the result of some inherited cause or an acquired eye disease. Sometimes minor problems such as dust and debris can cause irritation and corneal abrasions in dogs.
Dog Eyesight Test
To effectively treat the various eye problems, it is important to run the eyesight tests to diagnose the problem. So if you find your pet dog rubbing its eyes too often, avoiding light, rubbing its face on the ground, then you might want to check for an eyesight problem.
To diagnose the eyesight problem, the veterinarian may recommend certain tests based on the symptoms. For example, for diagnosing dry eye in dogs, vets may recommend a tear duct test. This includes checking for the natural eye moisture by inserting a strip of paper in the eyes. Based on the tests, the veterinarian may recommend appropriate treatment.
So if you see any symptoms of dog eyesight problems, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Regular eye checkups and dog care will help you avoid the problems. Washing your dog's eyes regularly, inserting artificial tears, and removing the dust and hair out of the eyes can help you prevent the eyesight problems in your pet.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.