Friday, March 8, 2013

Scary People, Lost Balls, and a Lazy Eye

You may or may not have noticed in photos that Athena has a slight lazy left eye.  It's often apparent in some photos more than others, but if  you were to interact with Athena in person, you would definitely be able to distinguish her lazy eye from her strong eye.

Not long after adopting Athena, B and I started to notice that the movement in her left eye was a bit slower than her right.  If looking at us in just the right way, Athena's left eye appears to be looking away from us, rather than straight at us.

We brought up the issue with one of our trainers who suggested that Athena's lazy eye might actually be causing her to have some impaired vision problems.  A dog's eyesight is already weak, which means that a vision impairment could cause them to have an even more difficult time seeing and making out objects and figures.  We've always known that sometimes Athena can't see where we throw the ball at the park, but we just assumed that it was because she's not the sharpest tool in the shed.  Then we started to think that some of her fears, especially of people, may even stem from her possible vision problem.

No, we haven't taken Athena to a vet to have her vision checked, because really, her lazy eye does not seem to be severe.  However, we may consider a vision check for the future if any other issues arise that may be connected to Athena's lazy eye.

Has your dog ever experienced a vision impairment?


  1. Now that you mention it, I can tell. I think Shiner also has a little bit of this problem too. I do notice little things with Shiner, but like you always attributed them to her being goofy!

  2. I've never noticed it in your pictures before and still have to look pretty closely to see it now. I never realized dogs have poorer vision, but I guess that explains why they are so scent, motion and sound driven.

  3. HA! We always comment on Edi's lazy eye! He has one too - except it's his right. We havne't noticed any issues with him, but it's interesting to think it could!

    Athena is just too cute. And man, does she have some pearly whites!

  4. Rufus doesn't have a lazy eye, but his vision is getting worse as he gets older. This has definitely caused him to be a bit more reactive to people who come up from behind him.

  5. Jake has googly eyes. We can start a club.

  6. Ummm...a vision impairment. Oh ya, we got that times three! Three of the pack are completely blind, two born with under developed eyes and one with detached retinas (and no chance of vision being restored). For us, lack of vision is no big deal. We've been dealing with it now for over three years (when Hiker was first adopted as a puppy) and it's not something I even really think about any more.

  7. I've never really noticed in pictures, but can see it once you point it out. I think it is very reasonable that impaired vision is causing some fear issues. I know Koira is terrified of stairs in the dark, so much so that when visiting my mom and staying upstairs in the guest room, Koira won't walk across the floor once the lights are out because she knows the stairs are there, somewhere, and she just can't see them. As long as you know it might be part of the issue, you can work with it a little. Do you notice Athena being more scared of people if they approach her from her left or her right?

    Also, you can buy balls that whistle when thrown, which are great for playing fetch with dogs with poor vision. Of course, that only works if the reason she can't find the ball is her eyesight!

  8. I think Dottie's eyes are OK and she's really smart but sometimes she doesn't take direction very well when we point to something. She does have a little tiny growth on one eye but it doesn't seem to be bothering her so I have no idea what's going on... maybe she just doesn't like us tell her what to do!

    Next time you're at the vet have them do a vision check and maybe you'll get some answers.

  9. Shelby has a cloud in her each of her eyes, but her vision does not seem to be impaired.

    Argus who is 12 years old has been loosing his vision. To give him a treat, we need to put it right up to his mouth, or we'll feel his sharp broken up teeth :)

  10. I never noticed this! I guess I was distracted by too much beauty :)

    I do not have eye problems that I know of, except for going cross-eyed over treats ;)

  11. That's a fantastic picture of Athena laying in the grass!
    I never would have noticed this...I truly wonder if I would have noticed it if it were my own dog!
    Our dogs haven't had vision problems but I worry about Braylon's eyes. She has the eyes of a dog three times her age. Sometimes I look at her and they are sooooo bloodshot. It wasn't like that when we adopted her so I feel bad that it just seems to get worse and worse.

  12. I don't know if I would have noticed Athena's lazy eye if you hadn't pointed it out! Maggie's left eye has some lighter pigmentation, and she definitely has a little trouble catching thrown treats. It seems like her depth perception is a little off.
    Both Maggie and Duke are very shy around new people. They have gotten a lot better with more exposure to people in low stress situations. We tell people to ignore them and occasionally have them toss treats if the dogs are relaxed enough to eat. It's been a longer process than originally expected, I think you're doing really well with Athena!