Cataracts are the deposition of opaque material within the lens of the eye, causing the lens to lose transparency and preventing light from passing to the retina. This can cause partial or complete vision loss. Cats can develop cataracts within their lens for many reasons having a genetic predisposition is the most common. Additionally, cataracts can develop secondary to inflammation within the eye caused by injury or infections, and as a result of poorly controlled diabetes. Cataracts are more common in older cats, however, in those cases where there is an inherited risk younger cats can also develop cataracts.
Common symptoms of cataracts in cats include:
A veterinary ophthalmologist will perform baseline tests which include biochemical profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis test. Electroretinogram, ultrasound, and Slit-lamp examination of the eye may be necessary. The only effective treatment for cataracts is to surgically remove them. Eye drops will be prescribed as post-surgery medications.
Following cataract surgery, it is important that a cat wear an Elizabethan collar during their post-surgery recovery to avoid damaging the surgical site. Cat owners will need to administer the ophthalmic medications prescribed by the veterinarian and schedule routine appointments with a veterinarian to monitor progress.
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