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Cataracts in Cats

Cataracts are a condition that can make your cat's eyes appear cloudy and impact their vision. Here, our Picayune vets discuss the causes and symptoms of cataracts in cats and talk about how surgery can treat this issue and restore their vision.

What are cataracts in cats?

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 starts to develop a cataract, the normally clear lens develops a cloudy or opaque appearance that interferes with the ability of light to reach the retina. Depending on how severe the cataract is, it can have significant impacts on the cat’s vision.

Cataracts can affect all cats regardless of breed, age, size, or sex.

What are the causes of cataracts?

There is an abundance of potential causes of cataracts in cats. They can occur with any damage that happens to the eye. Inflammation of the eye (uveitis) is one of the most common causes of cataracts in cats. Uveitis can lead the body’s immune system to recognize the lens as a foreign material, contributing to the formation of cataracts.

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

Symptoms of Cataracts in Cats

To give you a better idea of the appearance of the distinct appearance of cataracts in cats, we have included a couple of pictures below. A quick internet search of 'cataracts in cats pictures' can also provide you with many more.

In many cats, cataracts can be detected early in their development, during their routine physical exam. You may not be able to see the signs of cataracts at home, because cataracts have not yet progressed to the point that they are affecting 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.

Cataracts in Cats, Picayune Vets

Cataracts in Cats, Picayune Vets

What are the treatment options for cats with cataracts?

Surgery is often recommended for treating cataracts in cats. This ocular surgery involves breaking down and removing the cataract (a process known as phacoemulsification) and then replacing the eye's lens with an artificial lens.

If your cat has significant inflammation within the eye, cataract surgery may not be an option. No medications at this time 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.

Your Cat's Recovery from Cataract Surgery

Proper care for your cat is crucial after surgery. It can help them have a quick and comfortable recovery and reduce potential complications.

Your vet will likely prescribe topical medicated ointment that you must use on your cat's eye(s). To avoid complications like bleeding or swelling you should keep your cat in a confined space away from other pets and where they can't move around too much. They will also need a cone (e-collar or Elizabeth collar) to keep them from scratching at their eyes.

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.

Have your cat's eyes been changing or do they seem irritated by them? Contact our vets in Picayune today to schedule an examination.

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