Shih Tzu Blindness (Should you be worried?)

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Any living thing can go blind. Loss of vision never occurs suddenly. Its symptoms are forming and taking time, which means you will have enough time to notice and figure out if your Shih Tzu is getting blind.

However, Shih Tzu blindness can come quickly and suddenly in case of a severe injury.

Saving your Shih Tzu from getting diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight can overall decrease the risks of blindness.

But if you are not careful with these things, you may be putting your Shih Tzu at risk.
Read on to learn more about Shih Tzu eye issues and what you can do to help prevent them!

Archie is eight years.

At What Age Do Shih Tzus Go Blind?

The chances of Shih Tzu losing their vision are very high because they face a lot more eye diseases as compared to other dogs.

Chances of getting blind completely at its first 12 months are not likely, but as it turns two years old, the risks are higher.

Around Five years is the age when some Shih Tzu’s may lose their vision completely.

So, basically, 2 to 5 years are risky stages of its life in terms of vision loss.

How Can I Tell If My ShihTzu Is Blind?

You may notice a few signs that can indicate whether your Shih Tzu is blind or not or it is close to getting blind:

  • When your Shih Tzus eyes are cloudy
  • When you see, there are white spots on its eyes
  • You may notice it is bumping into things more often
  • Your Shih Tzu is becoming more hesitant towards games relating to jumps and stairs, etc.
  • Shih Tzu is also getting nervous more often and does not like new environments as it did before
  • Shih Tzu does not like to use stairs anymore; he avoids stairs.
  • Redness around the eyes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Is no longer interested in playing games or exploring new games
  • Its pupils look like they are stuck and do not dilate or constrict with the change of light
  • It no longer makes eye contact with you and avoids it

What Are The Changes In Behavior In A Blind Shih Tzu?

The possible and most common changes in its behavior due to loss of vision are as follows:

  • You may notice your Shih Tzu is going through depression
  • Shih Tzu is always having anxiety about things
  • There is a lack of energy
  • It is also getting more aggressive than before

Does Shih Tzus Have A Vision Problem?

Does Shih Tzus Have A Vision Problem?
Shih Tzu from our shihtzuadvice.com Facebook Page

Yes, Shih Tzus are more likely to have eye problems if we compare them to other big dogs. Their eyes are large, and any dirt can enter them at any time.

Shih Tzu’s eyes can get hurt in their normal day-to-day activities.

Little things can cause infections in Shih Tzu’s eyes, and you may not even be able to find the cause yourself.

If your Shih Tzu does not go through treatment, it may get severe infections that can lead to vision loss.

How Can I Test If My Shih Tzu Is Blind?

There are many ways by which you can test whether your Shih Tzu is blind or not because you know it well and you know how well it responds to certain things.

But the following are some common and simple ways to test its eyes:

  • The most important and best way is to go to the vet and let the veterinarian take the tests himself/herself.
  • Another way is to keep one of your hands 18 inches away from your Shih Tzus’ face and then suddenly bring it towards its face to get its reaction. If it reacts, everything is good, but if there is a delay in its reaction or there is no reaction, then chances are that your Shih Tzu has completely lost its vision.
  • You can also do this by using a cotton ball. Take a cotton ball and throw it in another direction so that your Shih Tzu will react or run toward it. But if there is no reaction, you know something is wrong with its eyes.

Do All Shih Tzus Go Blind?

Do All Shih Tzus Go Blind?
Shih Tzu from our Facebook Page

Despite the Shih Tzu’s chances of getting blind being high, this does not mean all Shih Tzus go blind.

If you are taking good care of your Shih Tzus eyes and are protecting them from every type of infection and problem, then the chances of your Shih Tzu getting blind are very low.

If your Shih Tzu has problems and infections in its eyes, then you can get treatment and avoid the risks of your Shih Tzu getting blind.

Proper care is essential for good long-term results.

How To Prevent A Shih Tzu From Going Blind?

Some diseases like diabetes, being over, and having high blood pressure can increase the risk of vision loss in Shih Tzu.

Focusing on these factors can help prevent blindness so a proper diet is important!

Always see the veterinarian as soon as possible whenever any problem occurs.

What Are The Problems That Lead To Shih Tzu’s Blindness?

  • Cataracts

It is the opacity of what your Shih Tzu can see, and it is present in the lens of the eyes. It may be present in a small part of your Shih Tzu’s eyes, but without treatment and care. So, it can cover Shih Tzus entire eye. It can occur in both eyes as well.

It can occur at any age but is more common at an older age. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of cataracts, and 1 out of 2 ratios develop this disease within the first six months of being diabetic.

  • Glaucoma–

In this condition, the fluids stay inside the eyes and cause pressure which can be very painful and damage the eyes completely. It causes blindness in Shih Tzus. This happens slowly, and if you take your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian, they may notice it before your Shih Tzu goes blind.

However, the treatment can be done with regular medications, and eye removal can be the last option if there are no positive results.

  • Progressive Retinal atrophy-

The retina senses light and sends signals to the brain to create an image. In this condition, the retina degenerates, and this results in complete blindness. It is possible to occur in puppies as well as grown-up Shih Tzus. At the current time, there is no treatment available for this problem.

  • Hypertension-

The retina in the eye is very delicate, and things like high blood pressure can damage it severely. It can cause partial damage or even complete damage to the eye resulting in blindness.

  • Chronic dry eye-

Dry eyes are very irritating for your Shih Tzu and cannot produce tears. In order to make its eyes moist your Shih Tzu may try to produce even thicker mucus than normal tears. The eyes try to protect themselves by infiltrating tissues and pigments, etc.

This condition is treatable by regular medications and can save the eyes from losing their vision completely. You may notice your Shih Tzu rubbing its eyes, and thick pus-like discharge is coming out of its eyes. You should visit the veterinarian for Chronic dry eye (also called KCS).

  • Untreated infections-

If your Shih Tzu has scratches and other little damages and they are not getting treatment on time, there are chances that these untreated infections and scratches will result in permanent blindness. Any discomfort should get treated as soon as possible by visiting a vet.

  • Pannus-

In this condition tissues and pigments grow around the eyes and this causes light sensitivity in Shih Tzus eyes. Regular eye medication can help with this condition. However, if Shih Tzus chronic condition is not getting proper treatment, then you should know that your Shih Tzu will go blind.

  • Tumors-

Tumors result in blocking eye vision and also damage the eye structure. Tumors are not easily detectable, and to detect tumors, it is essential to visit a specialist. The treatment for tumor removal involves the removal of eyes as well. Tumors can be any one of benign or cancerous.

  • Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS)-

It is not too familiar in Shih Tzu, but whenever it occurs, it causes sudden complete blindness that is permanent. Other diseases like crushing’s disease may result in causing SARDS, but there are no prominent causes available for this disease at this time.

Dogs who have SARDS have the following conditions, too, according to the hospitals:

  • Pugs
  • Bichons
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Maltese
  • Beagles
  • Cocker spaniels and
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Age-

When your Shih Tzu is getting old, it is very common for it to lose its vision. They develop cataracts and glaucoma in old age and several other non-eye-related diseases. Dogs need regular checkups in old age.

How To Take Care Of Shih Tzu When It Is Going Blind?

How To Take Care Of Shih Tzu When It Is Going Blind?
Loki, 1 year old from the Philippines

Shih Tzus have very strong senses of vision, hearing, smelling, etc.; if their eyes go blind, they can still survive and be happy. They will start relying more on their other senses and become habitual.

However, taking your Shih Tzu with blindness is still very important. It is best to create a proper care plan for it by consulting with the veterinarian. Everything around your Shih Tzu should make it feel comfortable and at home.

Things that can harm your Shih Tzu and are dangerous for it should not be around it at all or anywhere it can reach. Everything needs to be safe even the outdoors. Shih Tzu will need your care at every step, especially when you change your furniture or when it is outdoors.

Creating a new communication style with your Shih Tzu that is unique and understandable is the best way to make it feel at home, safe and comfortable. Remember to always be patient with your Shih Tzu whenever anything happens and be there for it before the need occurs.

What Causes Blindness In Shih Tzu?

The main cause of blindness in Shih Tzu is the hereditary ocular condition, including retinal detachment in Shih Tzus eyes. It can occur at any age. There is an abnormal development of the vitreous gel, which is present at the back of the eyes. It causes the retina to lose and results in blindness.

How To Train A Shih Tzu That Went Blind?

How To Train A Shih Tzu That Went Blind?
Hershey, 4 months old Shih Tzu from the Phillipines

As your Shih Tzu can no longer see, it will be difficult for you to train yourself. Taking help from a trainer is the best option available for this situation. Trainers with experience know how to train dogs of every kind and with different problems.

The trainer may use scent in order to awaken its sense of smell like service dogs and make it easier to learn it and to train as well. They will learn service dog exercises and may end up helping you with things later. But remember to have patience with your Shih Tzu and be kind to it.

Can Shih Tzu Recover From Being Blind?

There are chances for Shih Tzus to recover from blindness through surgery or medications.

But this is not the same for every Shih Tzu. It depends on the level of injury that leads to blindness and your ability to care for it no matter what.


In conclusion, blindness is very likely to occur in Shih Tzus because their eyes are more open to pollution and harm because of their large size.

But if you take care of your Shih Tzu and keep it safe from harm or infections, it may not get blind.

Staying in contact with a veterinarian whenever any eye problem can also save your Shih Tzus eyes from losing vision.

Getting rid of all the hard surfaced materials and getting soft surfaces that will not hurt your Shih Tzu will be great.

Never leave your Shih Tzu alone when it is blind and has no training.

However, if your Shih Tzu is getting its training and there are no harmful things around your Shih Tzu, then you can leave it on its own and even alone. But avoid leaving it alone for a long time.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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