Canine Contact Lenses to Protect the Eye
Unlike their human friends, dogs aren’t usually prescribed contacts to correct vision — though they can have that benefit.
“Contact lenses are often used as a bandage for dogs that have slow-healing ulcers,” according to Dr. Olivero. Corneal ulcers are open sores on the clear outer surface of the eye. Because the cornea contains numerous nerve endings, ulcers can be extremely painful. Often, ulcers can take weeks to heal, and if left untreated, they can become infected or lead to a perforation, which requires surgical repair.
That’s where a contact lens made specifically for dogs comes in. “The lens provides comfort, keeps the lids from rubbing over the open area and may help hold water-soluble antibiotic eye drops over the ulcerated area,” says Dr. Olivero. The lenses don’t include power correction so they have no impact on vision.
There are a few cases, however, where contact lenses may be used to correct vision. For example, some dogs with cataracts may be unable to have a lens implant due to genetics or other eye conditions. Although cataract removal offers better vision than blindness, “studies show that dogs with no lenses are farsighted and have relatively poor near vision,” says Dr. Olivero. While most dogs can learn to adjust for the farsightedness, in select cases, a contact lens may provide some vision correction.