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    Functional and fashionable sunglasses for dogs

     

    By Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD, FAAO Associate Optometric EditorBrooklyn, NY, is a great place to live…great restaurants, great shopping, great arena, and great yoga.

    Yoga Sole, where I practice, has a wonderful sense of community. Yoga bonds the students, and students’ stories bond the studio.

    Dog sunglasses made a definite difference in Shatzi’s sight.Shatzi is the poodle of Yoga Sole’s proprietor. Everyone loves Shatzi, so it was disheartening to hear that the 12-year-old dog was having trouble walking outside. Once out-of-doors, Shatzi would become anxious, shake his head, and refuse to walk. The veterinarian felt it was Shatzi’s back that was troubling him. I was certain Shatzi was suffering from disorienting glare disability, stray light caused by his known cataracts.

    Cataracts are common in older dogs, especially in dogs with diabetes. As in humans, dogs can undergo lens phacoemulsification and insertion of an IOL to restore vision. Unfortunately, cataract surgery in canines has a higher risk of breed-related complications than in their human owners. Intra-operative hyphema, ongoing ocular inflammation, infection, glaucoma, corneal ulceration, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, retinal detachment, and the risks of general anesthesia in older pets reduces the success of cataract surgery, to as low 79%.

    As the yoga studio’s “in-house” optometrist, my professional opinion was of interest. What would I recommend?

    I firmly believe every patient—four legged or two legged—should wear the best quality sun eyewear not only to protect the patient’s eyes from damaging ultraviolet light but also to reduce glare disability in patients with media opacities, such as cataracts. So, I prescribed sunwear for Shatzi.

    It turns out there are quite a few manufacturers of dog sunglasses. From the tiniest teacup breed to the biggest bull mastiff, a pair of appropriate sunshades can be had. Most customer reviews report that dogs easily accept wearing glasses and that dogs who appear sensitive to light seem less so with sunglass protection.

    What happened to our Shatzi? Sunglasses have significantly dampened the erratic behavior originally described by his owners. He behaves like his old self, strutting his doggie stuff down the city streets. And I was dubbed best eye doc ever at the yoga studio.

    Brooklynites love their dogs. Many shops have a dog water dish outside and dog biscuits inside. Should we make available canine sun wear in our offices? Maybe. Who else is better suited?ODT

    Katherine M. Mastrota, MS, OD, FAAO
    Clinical director of Omni Center for Dry Eye Specialty Care in New York City

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