Do cats get cataract?

Cataract is one of the health concerns that can impair human’s vision. The lens of the eye has to be translucent to be able to transmit and focus light to the retina. Cataract is characterized by the opacity of the lens. This white or bluish spot on the lens interferes with the transmission of light so that vision is impaired. This eye concern occurs not only in humans but in animals as well. Although cataract is more common in dogs, cats are known to get cataract too. Cats are more common in older cats although this eye concern can be present at birth. Cataract can also develop very early in a cat’s life.

Cats, even indoor ones would need their eyes for their everyday survival. A cat’s eye injuries and eye health concerns that do not receive necessary treatment can be the reason why the pet would lose its vision. Good health is the greatest gift a cat owner can give to the pet. It is therefore necessary for a pet parent to know the telltale signs that the pet is suffering from a health concern. A pet parent has to know what feline cataract is.

Cataract is the clouding in the lens of the eyes so that the varying degree of opacity that occurs obstructs the transmission of light to the retina. Cataract progresses slowly. In the early stages of development, the cat would suffer from nearsightedness. If left untreated, cataract will eventually cause vision loss. There are many causes of cataracts in cats. Micropthalmia which literally means “small eye” is a birth defect that can be an inherited cause for the cat’s cataract. Cataracts in cats can also develop from the inflammation of the eyes that is caused by injuries or infection. Diabetic cats can also get cataracts although this condition is quite uncommon. Cataract can result from the natural aging process. Proteins and fibers are continuously being produced on the surface of the lens. Changes in the arrangement or in the composition of the fibers can lead to the development of cataract. Persians, Himalayans. Birmans and Domestic short hairs are some of the cat breeds predisposed to develop this eye concern.

Impaired vision that is caused by the cloudy pupil will be attributed to cataract. This is the symptom that most cat owners know. The cloudy lens that usually has a crackled appearance or an icy blue chip can cover a part or the entire pupil. The vision of the cat will be impaired so that it would bump into things and would show reluctance to walk in unfamiliar environment. The cat would usually have a high-stepped walk and misjudge distances. Cataract is usually painless and a cat may not show clinical signs of impaired vision if only one eye is affected.

The cat has to undergo several diagnostic tests to rule out any other kind of diseases. Physical examination, complete eye examination and blood test are the usual examinations a cat would have to go through. Eye disorders can worsen if no treatment is administered in a timely manner. Owners that have observed the common signs of cataract in the pet must take the cat to a veterinary facility right away. In young cats, cataracts that are classified as non-progressive or immature may need no other treatment aside from the administration of anti-inflammatory eye drops. Cataracts that have already impaired the cat’s vision would usually need to be surgically removed. A veterinary ophthalmologist will remove the affected lens and implant an artificial lens to restore the cat’s vision. Cats with inoperable cataracts would need the owner’s tender loving care to help the pet adjust to being blind.

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