Traditionally, there’s been little you can do for a dog suffering from poor vision. Apart from cataracts surgery for ageing pups, if your dog is losing their eyesight due to old age or failed cataracts treatment, the historic approach has simply been to let them get by with their hearing and sense of smell.
However, help may finally be at hand for mature mutts, in the form of prescription glasses specifically for dogs – and no, we’re not kidding. Doggies, a US manufacturer of protective canine eyewear, has produced a range of glasses aimed specifically at correcting the vision of older dogs.
Dogs don’t actually see as well as you might think, with a visual acuity of around 20/50 – a fair bit lower than their human counterparts. But as they age their vision often gets worse, and many dogs struggle to see with any real clarity at all.
The new lenses from Doggies are aimed at correcting this, with veterinary-approved correcting lenses aimed at helping the farsightedness often associated with dogs that have undergone surgery to correct cataracts. Vets will soon be able to determine the correct prescription using a retinoscopy – the same approach opthalmologists use to find the correct prescription for young children.
The lenses, which will require a prescription from a vet, are very affordable and – according to the company producing them – suitable for all breeds of dogs. One wonders how you will be able to tell what difference they’re making to our pets, but I assume close observation would be the standard response to that question.
So it may not be long until canine spectacle wearers are a common site, particularly with the lenses costing on average less than $100 (£75). Most dog owners would happily shell out what is in reality a very reasonable sum to help their dog see better, and I can image it won’t be long until we’re seeing Ray Ban or Oakley prescription glasses aimed specifically at our canine companions.
The company behind the idea also make solid black lenses for blind dogs, which (despite what many will initially think) are not produced for an aesthetic effect. The lenses actually serve a variety of important functions, from protecting their eyes when they bump into things to alerting humans that they’re interacting with a blind animal.
In addition, they also make goggles aimed specifically at dogs (as their name perhaps suggests), which are used to protect dogs from everything from UV rays to flying debris. Some investigation into the product actually reveals some sensible applications, including protecting dogs in the military in sandy places like the Middle East, to shielding the eyes of rescue dogs.
Of course, whether or not the dogs are actually happy and comfortable wearing goggles or glasses remains to be seen – I don’t think I’d have much luck getting them on either of my jack russells without a fight!