Defining Cataracts in Cats
A cataract is defined as any opacity of the lens that impairs the eye’s ability to absorb and transmit light to the retina. This therefore interferes with a cat’s vision. Any spot on the lens of a cat’s eye that blocks light technically is a cataract, regardless of its size. Cats of either gender can develop cataracts, although they are much less common in cats than in dogs. Cataracts are seen more frequently in older cats, but sometimes they are present at birth or develop early in life. Regardless of their cause, the symptoms of cataracts are the same. Affected cats have cloudy pupils which may have what look like icy-blue “chips.” They have impaired vision in affected eyes, ranging from mild to blindness. Cataracts can have a strong genetic component. Other contributing causes include nutritional deficiencies, low calcium levels, exposure to toxins, radiation, electric shock and blunt or penetrating trauma.