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 Boulder County vets will provide you with information on cataracts in cats and what to look out for.
What are cataracts?
A cataract is defined as an increase in the opacity of the eye's lens. Capsule-encased protein fibers make up the structure inside the eye called the lens, which focuses light on the retina to enable 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
Uveitis is the most frequent cause of cataracts in cats. Numerous underlying medical conditions may cause this to happen. Cataracts can develop as a result of the immune system of the body mistaking the lens for an alien substance due to uveitis.
What are the signs of cataracts?
Our Boulder County veterinarians frequently find cataracts at an early stage of development when performing a standard physical examination. Because the cataracts have not yet advanced to the point where they impair the cat's vision, these cats might not exhibit any symptoms of the condition 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.
Medicines such as corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops are used to lessen the inflammation inside the eye of cats with untreated cataracts. As glaucoma is a possible side effect of both inflammation and cataracts, it is important to control inflammation even though the cataract itself won't be affected by these medications. Medical management of feline cataracts usually focuses on preventing secondary glaucoma because glaucoma is difficult to treat and often requires ocular surgery.