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 Rabun County 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. You can use Google to search 'cataracts in cats pictures' if you suspect your cat might have cataracts and you need a comparison.
When a cat begins to get a cataract, the normally clear lens takes on a cloudy or opaque appearance that prevents light from getting to the retina. The cat's vision may be significantly affected by the cataract, depending on how severe it is.
Cataracts can occur in cats of any age, sex, or breed. A genetic predisposition to inherited cataracts has been observed in Himalayans, 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 who experience eye inflammation, also known as uveitis, are more frequently found to develop cataracts. A number of underlying disease processes may be the cause of this. The development of cataracts may be aided by uveitis, which can cause the body's immune system to mistake the lens for a foreign object.
What are the signs of cataracts?
Cataracts are often detected early in their development during a routine physical exam by our Rabun County veterinarians. These cats may not show signs of cataracts at home because the cataracts have not yet progressed to the point where they are interfering with 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.
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.
In cats with untreated cataracts, medications such as corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops are used to reduce inflammation within the eye. Even though these medications have no effect on the actual cataract, it is critical to control inflammation in order to avoid glaucoma (a potential complication of cataracts and inflammation of the eye). Glaucoma does not respond well to medical treatment and frequently necessitates the removal of the eye; thus, medical treatment of feline cataracts is frequently focused on preventing secondary glaucoma.