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 Seattle vets will provide you with information on cataracts in cats and what to look out for.
What are cataracts?
An increase in the eye's lens' opacity is referred to as a cataract. Light is focused on the retina by the lens, an eye structure made of protein fibers encased in a capsule, which enables sharp 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
- Infections Such As Viral, Bacterial, Fungal, Or Protozoal
Cats' internal eye inflammation, or uveitis, is the most typical cause of cataracts in cats. There are numerous underlying disease processes that can cause this to occur. Cataracts may develop as a result of the immune system's misidentification of the lens by the body due to uveitis.
What are the signs of cataracts?
Our Seattle veterinarians regularly conduct physical exams where cataracts are frequently found at an early stage of development. Due to the cataracts' incipient progression and the fact that they do not yet impair the cats' vision, they may not exhibit cataract-related symptoms at home.
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.
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.
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.
Corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops are used to reduce inflammation within the eye in cats with untreated cataracts. Although these drugs will not affect the cataract itself, it is still critical to manage inflammation to avoid glaucoma, which is a potential side effect of both inflammation and cataracts. Because glaucoma is difficult to treat medically and frequently requires eye removal, medical treatment of feline cataracts frequently focuses on preventing secondary glaucoma.