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Cataracts in Cats

Have you noticed your cat's eyes have started to cloud over, this may be a sign that your cat is developing cataracts in its eyes? Today, our Villa Rica vets will provide you with information on cataracts in cats and what to look out for.

What are cataracts?

A cataract refers to an increase in the opacity of the lens of the eye. The lens, a structure within the eye composed of protein fibers encased within a capsule, is responsible for focusing light on the retina and allowing clear vision.

When a cat develops a cataract, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy or opaque, interfering with light's ability to reach the retina. The severity of the cataract can have a significant impact on the cat's vision.

Cataracts can occur in cats of any age, sex, or breed. A genetic predisposition to inherited cataracts has been observed in Himalayas, Birmans, and British Shorthairs.

What causes cataracts in cats?

There are many possible causes of cataracts. Any type of damage to the lens can result in the formation of a cataract.

Causes of cataracts that have been described in cats include the following:

  • Inflammation Within The Eye
  • Genetic Or Hereditary Factors
  • Trauma To The Eye
  • Metabolic Diseases, Such As Diabetes Or High Blood Pressure
  • Nutritional Imbalances
  • Radiation Exposure
  • Cancer
  • Infections Such As Viral, Bacterial, Fungal, Or Protozoal

The most common cause of cataracts in cats is inflammation within the eye, also known as uveitis. This can happen as a result of a variety of underlying disease processes. Uveitis can cause the body's immune system to mistake the lens for a foreign object, contributing to the formation of cataracts.

What are the signs of cataracts?

Cataracts are often detected early in their development by our Villa Rica veterinarians during a routine physical exam. These cats may not show signs of cataracts at home because the cataracts have not yet progressed to the point where they affect the cat's vision.

It is important to note that not all hazy eyes are caused by cataracts. As cats age, the lens often develops a cloudy appearance due to an aging change known as nuclear sclerosis or lenticular sclerosis.

If you're curious, you can use your favorite search engine to look for 'cataracts in cats pictures' and compare what you see with your cat. If you suspect something. contact your veterinarian first before doing anything else.

What are the different types of cataracts in cats?

Feline cataracts are classified into three main types: incipient, immature, and mature. Incipient cataracts are the earliest stage and may not cause any noticeable changes in the cat's vision. Immature cataracts are more advanced and can lead to cloudy or hazy vision for the cat. Mature cataracts are the most severe stage, where the lens becomes completely opaque, resulting in significant vision impairment or blindness for the cat.

How can vets diagnose cataracts?

One common method for diagnosing cataracts in cats is through a comprehensive eye examination. Vets will use an ophthalmoscope to examine the lens of the cat's eye for any cloudiness or opacity, which are indicative of cataracts.

Additionally, vets may perform other tests, such as a slit lamp examination or ultrasound imaging, to get a more detailed view of the cataract and its impact on the cat's vision. These diagnostic tools allow vets to accurately assess the presence and severity of cataracts in cats, which is crucial for determining the best course of treatment to preserve their vision and overall eye health.

How are cataracts in cats treated?

The best treatment for cataracts is surgery. This surgery involves breaking down and removing the cataract (a process known as phacoemulsification), then replacing the lens of the eye with an artificial lens.

The recovery process for cats after cataract surgery typically involves wearing a protective collar to prevent them from scratching or rubbing their eyes, as well as administering eye drops or medications as prescribed by the veterinarian. It is important to monitor their behavior closely for any signs of discomfort or complications during the healing period.

If your cat has significant inflammation within the eye, cataract surgery may not be an option. Unfortunately, there are no medications that can dissolve cataracts or slow their progression. This means that cataracts will persist. Fortunately, cataracts are not painful and cats typically adjust well to blindness.

In order to reduce the inflammation within the eye in cats who have untreated cataracts, medications like corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops are used. Although the cataract itself won't be impacted by these drugs, it's still critical to manage inflammation to avoid glaucoma, which is a potential side effect of both inflammation and cataracts. Since glaucoma is difficult to treat medically and frequently necessitates the removal of the eye, medical treatment of feline cataracts frequently focuses on avoiding secondary glaucoma.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.

Contact Villa Rica Animal Hospital if you suspect your cat is developing cataracts. We can provide a diagnosis and options to treat it.

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Villa Rica Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Villa Rica companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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