Did you see that your cat's eyes are getting cloudy? This might mean that your cat is getting cataracts in its eyes. Today, our vets at Madison will give you information about cataracts in cats and what you should keep an eye on.
What Are Cataracts?
A cataract happens when the lens inside a cat's eye becomes cloudy. This lens is like a clear window that helps the cat see by focusing light on the back of its eye.
When a cat gets a cataract, this clear window turns cloudy, which makes it harder for light to get to the back of the eye. How much the cat can see depends on how bad the cataract is.
Cats of any age, gender, or breed can get cataracts.
Causes of 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
Inflammation in a cat's eye, often called uveitis, is the main reason why cataracts form in cats. Uveitis can make the immune system see the lens as something foreign, which helps cataracts develop.
Signs of Cataracts
In lots of cats, veterinarians can spot cataracts when they give the cats their regular check-ups. You might not notice cataracts in your cat because they haven't gotten bad enough to affect your cat's eyesight.
Remember, not all cloudy eyes mean cataracts. When cats get older, their eye lenses can start to look cloudy because of a natural aging process called nuclear sclerosis or lenticular sclerosis.
Treatment For Cataracts In Cats
The top way to fix cataracts is through surgery. This surgery deals with removing the cataract by breaking it down (a process called phacoemulsification) and then putting it in an artificial lens.
If your cat's eye has a lot of inflammation, surgery might not work. Right now, no medicines can make cataracts go away or slow them down. So, cataracts will stick around. The good news is that cataracts don't hurt, and cats usually do just fine even if they can't see.
For cats with untreated cataracts, doctors use medicines like corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops to reduce the swelling in the eye. These medicines won't fix the cataract itself. Still, they're important to keep the inflammation in check and prevent a problem called glaucoma (which can happen when you have cataracts and eye inflammation).
Glaucoma doesn't respond well to medicine and might need the eye to be removed, so the focus is on stopping glaucoma from happening in the first place when treating cataracts in cats.
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.