Cataracts are a degenerative change of the lens, resulting in an opacity and interference with optical clarity and vision. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in dogs. Surgical removal of the cataract and replacement with an artificial intraocular lens implant (IOL) restores vision. The leading complication of cataract surgery in dogs and humans is posterior capsular opacification (PCO), a hazy opacity of the lens capsule developing post-operatively which results in diminished vision. This is treated with laser surgery in humans which cannot be performed in dogs. Therefore, an alternative method for preventing or decreasing PCO must be found. A capsular tension ring (CTR) is a device that can be placed within the lens capsule, with the IOL, at the time of cataract surgery. Previous studies in humans have shown that CTRs significantly decrease PCO formation. It is hypothesized that CTRs will significantly diminish PCO formation in canine lenses using an ex vivo model and in clinical canine cataract patients. We expect that dogs will respond similarly to humans by developing less PCO in the eye with a CTR.
This research will give veterinarian surgeons a new method of restoring and maintaining excellent vision in dogs that have been blinded by cataracts.