Morris Animal Foundation: Cataracts in Dogs

Written by: Daryl Kenny

As they age, dogs can develop cataracts, just like their humans
Photo by Morris Animal Foundation

Drug-Releasing Lenses Improve Sight for Dogs

As dogs age, many of them require cataract surgery. The surgery usually improves their quality of life, but some dogs experience persistent inflammation and they develop cloudiness over the eye, a condition known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO).

What if special lenses could alleviate the cloudiness? It turns out they can.

Dr. Brian C. Gilger and his research team at North Carolina State University recently tested a new treatment method for decreasing inflammation and reducing the incidence of PCO: intraocular lenses that release celecoxib, an anti-inflammatory drug.

Funded by Morris Animal Foundation, the researchers first demonstrated in the laboratory that these lenses release enough celecoxib to inhibit the formation of PCO. Based on this success, the team then evaluated the lenses’ effectiveness in dogs that had undergone cataract surgery.

Sure enough, the celecoxib-releasing lenses were well tolerated by dogs and they significantly reduced PCO development at six and 12 months after surgery. Further evaluation is needed to determine whether this method will also effectively prevent PCO in horses and cats.

One thing is perfectly clear though: the results of this study will help improve outcomes and minimize complications for dogs that undergo cataract surgery.

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The Orvis Cover Dog Contest benefits the Morris Animal Foundation’s canine cancer research through the Orvis Canine Cancer Campaign.

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