Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a family of possibly up to 30 related, yet different diseases in which the retina gradually deteriorates, eventually causing blindness in all affected dogs. PRA typically shows up as night blindness when the poodle is 3 to 5 years old. His pupils will stay dilated and the eyes will shine. The dog will gradually become completely blind.
If your poodle has PRA, keep lights on for him or use night-lights to help with the night blindness. After his vision is gone, take care not to change the layout of furniture or leave obstacles in his path. If you keep his environment consistent and use toys with bells or squeakers, you may notice little change in your poodle’s demeanor, even after he has lost his sight.
Progressive Iris Atrophy
Like PRA, this is a progressive type disease that causes the iris to shrivel and die resulting in blindness.
Cataracts that are inherited are called Juvenile Cataracts. Cataracts cause the lens of the eyes to cloud over, blocking light to the retina and affecting the vision. Severe cases lead to blindness. If you see signs of vision impairment in your poodle (bumping into things, hesitancy to jump onto or off furniture) or the characteristic bluish white cloudiness over the eye, take him to the veterinarian. If your poodle’s cataracts are inherited, they might be able to be removed surgically.
A cataract can also occur secondary to another condition, like diabetes, so it’s important to catch them early and address any other related conditions.
Epiphora (Excessive Tearing)
All sizes of Poodles are prone to epiphora. This is often obvious by the stains that are seen starting from the inside corner of the eyes and running down the face. Epiphora can happen on its own or be the result of distichiasis (extra row of eyelashes) or entropion (eyelashes become tucked under the eyelid and irritate the eyeball). If your Poodle suddenly develops this condition, it is best to have him or she checked out by your veterinarian to rule out these disorders, corneal ulcerations or some type of eye trauma. Miniature and Toy Poodles sometimes have an absence of the opening at the lacrimal canal (tear duct). This condition is called nasolacrimal puncta atresia.