Can a horse be near sighted?
I am not sure if anybody can really answer that question- I know that none of my horses ever complained that they were having trouble reading the newspaper. The only way we can make assumptions about how well a horse sees is by performing an ophthalmic examination. This will reveal any lens cataracts, which can prevent light and images from hitting the retina, corneal scars from old injuries, retinal damage from uveitis, pupillary abnormalities, congential malformations, and reflexes to standard vision assessment tests. This will allow us to estimate how much light, motion, and detail a particular horse can perceive but there is no documented evidence of “near sightedness” as such. Horses have evolved to have very sensitive distance vision so they can spot threats in enough time to flee, but the arrangement of their eyes also leads to a small blind zone around the body. Scarily, when a horse is lifting its forehand off the ground in front of a fence, it is actually jumping from memory because he can’t see it anymore. Something I preferred not to think about at that moment.
Melissa McKee DVM