Contact Lenses for Your Pet?

What do you do when Fido and Fluffy start bumping into walls or mistaking your shoe for their water dish?  Maybe it’s time for you to look into corrective lenses for your dog or cat…

Eyeglasses on a pet…well, that’s a ridiculous proposition.  Though smart cartoon dogs (like Mr. Peabody) have long sported glasses to emphasize their intelligence, I doubt anyone would be brave enough for the task of actually trying to keep eyeglasses on a pet.

But contact lenses could be a great option for a pooch or feline suffering from eye issues.  And, they are in the works!

Sure, they are still fairly uncommon…Now! But, who knows what the future holds.  More and more pet health and safety products are hitting the mass market as people continue to treat pets as treasured family members.  Sometime soon it may be more common to get your pup or kitty fitted with contact lenses.

Dr. Mary B. Glaze is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist and a professor at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.  She’s been fitting animals with contact lenses to correct chronic eye problems.  Mostly, the lenses are used to guard the animal’s eye by adding the lens as a protective layer or they are used to help a condition called lens luxation — which is correctable with surgery in humans but not always possible on animals.

One of Dr. Glaze’s patients was a terrier named Sushi.  Sushi has a corneal ulceration and was able to be fitted with a lens for the affected eye.

It’s not just friendly furry pets that are getting in on the contact lens action.  I also read about horses wearing lenses.  Then, I saw a story about an elephant in a North Carolina zoo who, at age 38, was getting fitted for his first pair of contact lenses.  Unfortunately, the elephant didn’t take too well to the lenses.

If the thought of taking out your dog’s lenses and cleaning them every night is daunting, don’t worry.  The contact lenses being used on animals are slightly different than those you and I wear and they are durable enough to last a month or so before needing to be removed and cleaned.  Bathing animals is hard enough…getting those contacts in and out.  I think I’d leave that to a professional!

If you’ve got a pet with poor eye sight…stay tuned. The field of veterinary ophthalmology seems to be growing and it could only be a matter of time before your favorite fuzzy friend could wear contacts too!

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