Have you ever wondered what your pets see when they look up at you through those big doe eyes? Sure, they see you, but our furry friends don’t quite see the same way that we do.

Pet ophthalmology is a very interesting field. Taking a moment to learn more about animal vision and how your pets perceive the world are great ways to better understand these important members of your family.

All About the Bifocals

Compared to humans, most animals have eyes that are set wider on their faces. This means that people sacrifice a wide field of vision for better depth perception. We tend to see in more in a 3D manner than do animals with eyes that are wide set.

For example:

  • Humans have a 180 degree field of vision
  • Dogs can see 250 degrees around them, but are limited to only about half of the binocular vision a person has
  • Cats have a 200 degree field of vision

This means that your pets have better peripheral vision than you do. If you think that you are getting the side eye from your dog or cat, you probably are!

Lacking Focus

How well a species can see at what distances seems to have a lot to do with what purpose vision plays in their lives. What range an animal can focus in has to do with the ability to change eye shape, dictated by the ocular muscles. Compare the following:

  • Humans see clearly at 100 – 200 feet away
  • Cats focus best at about 20 feet
  • Dogs can focus around 20 feet, although some breeds, such as retrievers, can focus at longer distances

This likely has to do with our pet’s evolutionary need to zero in quickly on prey at short distances. They are much better at seeing fast moving objects than we are.

Color and Animal Vision

The retina, located in the back of the eye, contains cells known as rods and cones. The cone cells are responsible for detecting different wavelengths of light, which results in the perception of color. As humans, we possess three different types of cones that recognize red, green, and blue.

Different animal species have different types of cone cells in their retinas. Dogs, for example, only have two types of cones (blue and green). This means that they see very similarly to a person who has red-green colorblindness (you can check this out with various websites and apps that will allow you to see like a canid). Cats have much fewer cones overall, as they rely less on their color detection when hunting at dusk. Our feline companions likely see in mostly blue and gray tones.

Animals have far more rods in their eyes than we possess, meaning that their ability to see in dim light far surpasses our own.

Animal vision has many differences from human vision, but for good reason. Our pets rely on their eyesight to keep them safe and secure. If you think your pet might have an eye problem, please call us at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates as soon as possible. Eyes are so important to day-to-day function, and we want to be sure that pet eye care is a top priority.