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Like the type of cataracts that affect humans, feline cataracts are a degenerative eye condition characterized by a change in lens opacity making it harder to see. Age is a significant factor for developing cataracts, but cats can also get cataracts from injury or infectious disease. If left untreated, cataracts can result in complete or partial vision loss in both eyes to varying degrees. A cat suffering from vision impairment may start acting erratically and knocking into its surrounding due to a lack of proper vision. If you start to notice your cat with milky eyes, talk to your veterinarian and they may prescribe treatment in the form of cat cataracts eye drops.
Depending on the severity of the cataracts, your veterinarian will present a treatment plan and prescribe cat cataracts eye drops. Early detection is key to slowing down the progression of the disease and subsequent vision loss. In its early stages, cataracts can be treated with medication such as cat cataracts eye drops to deter the growth of the cataracts. It is recommended to use specialty eye drops, like OcluVet, which is formulated to reduce lens opacity issues. The goal is to treat any inflammation in the eyes as soon as possible with either non-prescription cat cataracts eye drops, or prescription antibiotic eye drops in order to relieve any cataract symptoms.
Feline Cataract Symptoms
Cloudy-looking eyes is the first sign of cataract that people notice in their cats. More serious signs to look out for are redness, swelling, tears, discharge, excessive squinting, and pawing at the eyes due to itchiness. The eyes may also start bulging or become sunken in. Your cat may experience behavioral changes due to vision loss, such as reluctance to jump or climb, as well as an increase in clumsiness and tripping. They might also start having difficulty locating the litter box or their food, as well as not recognize family members which can lead to stress and anxiety.
Cat Cataract Causes
Unlike humans, cats have many ways to develop cataracts besides age. For example, it may manifest as a congenital condition at birth or as part of a separate underlying disorder. Feline cataracts are usually the result of a primary condition which has caused the eye to become inflamed such as a viral or bacterial infection in the eye. These are risk factors that can trigger the likelihood of a cat developing cataracts. Here are the most common causes of cat cataracts according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine:
- High blood pressure and ageing
- Physical eye trauma or near the eyes
- Genetic predispositions according to breed or medical history
- Exposure to toxins
- Eye lens luxation
- Malnutrition at a young age and other nutritional disorders
- Chronic uveitis eye inflammation
- Electric shock, exposure to radiation or toxic substances
All cats are susceptible to common eye issues, like pink eye or seasonal allergies. Therefore, using eye drops to soothe any symptoms right away is the best course of action to prevent more serious conditions like cataracts. Talk to your veterinarian about the medical history of your cat to determine if they are at a greater risk of developing cat cataracts.
How to Diagnose Cat Cataracts
If you notice any signs of milky cloudiness in either of your cat’s eyes, notify your veterinarian immediately to start a full diagnosis. Your vet will ask you questions about the cat’s recent activities, behavior, and medical history to establish the severity of the potential cataracts condition. They will perform various diagnostic tests with emphasis on the eyes to determine the root cause of the initial eye condition. As a result, this should confirm if surgery will be necessary to correct any cataracts. If the culprit of the symptoms if a secondary condition, the vet will start treatment on the underlying condition first.
Treating and Preventing Feline Cataracts in Cats
If caught early enough, cat cataracts are easily treatable with cat cataracts eye drops like OcluVet Eye Drops to reduce eye inflammation and restore vision back to normal. However, depending on the progression of the cataracts and the severity of the vision loss, surgery might be the only option to help partially restore a cat’s eyesight. It is recommended to perform the surgery as soon as possible since waiting may lead to total blindness in one or both eyes. This will involve removing the infected ocular lens and replacing it with a plastic or acrylic version. Once the surgery is complete, the cat will require post-surgery treatment in the form of Acular Eye Drops to help relieve eye swelling following cataracts surgery.
As a preventative measure, routine eye examinations at home or at the vet is recommended in order to catch signs of cataracts as soon as possible, especially in older cats. Use cat cataracts eye drops regularly to keep eyes moist and prevent unnecessary irritation.
To learn more about eye drops for cat cataracts, visit our blog for advice and the latest product news for your pets.
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