How to Tell if a Cat Has Cataracts
Do you want to know if your cat has cataracts? First of all, you should know that a cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. The lens is an eye tissue that is transparent in colour located between two capsules. When light passes through the lens and strikes the retina, it creates a photographic film. Nerve impulses leave the retina and are sent to parts of the brain which results in the perceived images. In this OneHowTo.com article we explain how to tell if a cat has cataracts.
Cataracts may appear in your cat's eye in various forms, i.e. in the form of stripes, dots, shapes like a broken glass, with total or partial opacity and they are usually white in color. If you live with cats, especially if they are older, you'll eventually see how their pupil acquires a whitish color. When this is visible, people generally think of cataracts. It is a much less common ailment in dogs but your cat can end up suffering from them.
A cataract is a process where the lens structure is altered, creating a loss of transparency, and obstructing light and vision from entering the eye. In cats, cataracts can be hereditary or congenital, although this is very rare. They can also be acquired by any ocular trauma caused by a fight, diabetes, metabolic disorders, a lack of nutrients, electric shock, toxins, ulcers or persistent pupillary membranes, among other reasons.
The iris is in front of the lens and when it contracts or dilates according to the light, it reveals more or less of the lens' surface. So cataracts are detected better in less light, because the shadows appear larger.
You need to differentiate between cataracts and another problem that affects cats as they get older. This is a very common process in felines called nuclear sclerosis or senile degeneration of the lens. When this occurs, the lens undergoes a drying process. Sclerosis causes a dull tone that prevents them from seeing clearly, like cataracts. Also, in the case of young cats, certain eye imperfections can be confused with cataracts. Your trusted veterinarian will be able to diagnose if your pet is cataracts, imperfections or senile degeneration.
If you have any doubts, it's best to go to the vet for a correct diagnosis. They will conduct a complete examination of not only their eyes, because the problem may be systemic as a result of diabetes or it may simply be localized in their eyes. With the help of a direct and indirect ophthalmoscope, they can observe the different structures to assess if the problem is a cataract. If their lens has transparency, the retina can also be viewed to see if it has also altered. Therefore, it is very important to take them for an immediate examination if cataracts are suspected. If the lens is completely opaque, the retina is observed through pupillary reflexes both crossways and direct. With an ultrasound, retinal detachment, tumors or hemorrhages can be detected.
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