Nonsurgical Treatment for Dog Cataracts

Glasses won't help a dog with cataracts.
Glasses won't help a dog with cataracts. (Image: Image by, courtesy of stevegatto2)

Cataracts result from a breakdown of a dog’s eye-lens tissue. The lens fibers become misaligned, clouding the lenses. Surgery is the preferred cataract treatment. Nonsurgical cataract treatments may improve cataracts without the risk and cost of surgery.


Nonsurgical cataract treatment avoids the glaucoma, infection and retinal-detachment risks that affect between five percent and 10 percent of dogs undergoing surgery.


A 2006 study of 30 dogs at Cambridge University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine found that after eight weeks, a prescription of two-percent antioxidant-enhanced carnosine eyedrops significantly improved immature cataracts.


These prescription eyedrops are available through a veterinarian or online, and one-percent carnosine over-the-counter eyedrops are available from online vendors, including


The 2009 online price for prescription carnosine-based eyedrops at one website is $115.98 for a 1/2-ounce bottle, enough to treat both dog's eyes for two months according to the manufacturer. The over-the-counter drops cost $43.95 for 1/3 ounce, with discounts on larger purchases.

Other Treatments

Adding vitamins C and E to your pet's food, says Dr. Ron Hines, D.V.M., of, may slow the progression of his cataracts. He also recommends feeding a balanced diet and minimizing the time your dog spends in the bright sun.

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