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A non-profit charity dedicated to providing free guides for visually impaired individuals.
Ten Percent of Guide Dogs may have vision problems
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According to an article titled "Guide dogs fail eye tests", scientists Auckland University made an "alarming discovery":
"many seeing-eye dogs had such poor vision that they would need glasses if they were human:"
Animal researchers John Phillips and Andrew Collins developed a perception test where the dogs attention was focused on an image while special computerized instruments tracked the dogs acuity of vision. The researchers tested 61 dogs and concluded that about 11% were seriously nearsighted.
"Once the dog was staring at the right place, a
moving target was added to the image and a video camera linked to a
computer tracked the dog's eyes as they followed it, recording the point
at which the dog could no longer see the target."
It is also well-know that the vision of all mammals decreases as they age with most visual problems occurring in middle-age. Visual acuity generally decreases for humans at about age 50, large dogs at age about 10 years old and miniature horses at about age 25. This research may indicate that aging guide animals undergo periodic vision check-ups in order to ensure that they can continue to keep their handlers safe.
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