Part 3 of our article on French Bulldog health conditions deals with Eye Anomalies and Diseases in French Bulldogs. French Bulldogs are prone to several eye diseases and conditions due to both genetic inheritance and structural predisposition. Diseases include Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts, Distichiasis, Cherry Eye and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).
Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts (JC or HJC)
Senile (Late Onset) Cataracts
It’s common to see a sort of ‘milky’ or opaque covering in the eyes of older dogs (and cats). This is usually due to Senile Cataracts (also called Late Onset Cataracts). Senile cataracts generally appear in dogs over six years of age, and some conditions such as diabetes mellitus will increase the likelihood of them developing. Senile cataracts can generally be diagnosed by their simultaneous appearance in both eyes.
There is some debate over whether Senile Cataracts should be operated on. Surgery can be done to remove the cataract from the lens, but this will require a life time of invasive follow up treatment, and blindness or even Lens Induced Uveitis (LIU) can still occur. Non surgical treatment of cataracts includes anti-inflammatory drops several times daily administered to the eye.
Often mistaken for Senile Cataracts, Nuclear sclerosis is a normal change that occurs in the lenses of older dogs. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a slight graying of the lens. It usually occurs in both eyes at the same time and occurs in most dogs over six years of age. The loss of transparency occurs because of compression of the linear fibers in the lens. The condition does not significantly affect the vision of the dog and treatment is not recommended.