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Cataracts in Cats: Causes, Signs, and Treatment

Have you noticed your cat's eyes starting to become cloudy? This could be a sign that your cat is developing cataracts. Today, our vets in Clearlake will provide you with information on cataracts in cats and the symptoms to watch out for.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, reducing vision clarity. The lens is a structure composed of protein fibers that focus light on the retina, enabling clear vision. 

Cats of any age, breed, or sex can develop cataracts. However, certain breeds, such as Himalayas, Birmans, and British Shorthairs, are genetically predisposed to inherit cataracts.

The severity of the cataract can significantly impact the cat's vision, causing a partial or complete loss of vision.

What causes cataracts in cats?

There are many possible causes of cataracts. Any 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?

Our Clearlake veterinarians often detect cataracts early in their development during a routine physical exam. However, 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 cataracts do not cause all hazy eyes. As cats age, the lens becomes cloudy due to an aging change known as nuclear 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.

How are cataracts in cats treated?

Cataract surgery is the most effective treatment for cataracts in cats. The cataract is broken down and removed during the surgery, and an artificial lens is implanted in the eye.

However, the surgery may not be possible for cats with significant eye inflammation. Unfortunately, no medications are available to dissolve or slow the progression of cataracts. While cataracts are not painful, cats may experience blindness.

In such cases, medications like corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Although these medications do not affect cataracts, managing inflammation is essential to preventing glaucoma, which can be a side effect of both inflammation and cataracts.

As glaucoma is challenging to treat, medical treatment for feline cataracts often focuses on preventing secondary glaucoma.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are concerned about your cat's or dog's eyes, please consult our Clearlake veterinary surgeon today and have your cat assessed.

New Patients Welcome

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

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