August 2011 Issue

Cataracts: Cats Get Them Too

This potentially blinding eye condition can be treated with surgery, however. Here’s what you should know.

Cats’ eyes are complex arrangements of delicate structural components that need to operate harmoniously in a normal, healthy animal to enable keen vision. Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong with one or more of these components as a result of disease, aging, traumatic injury or genetically acquired defects. Cataracts can seriously impair a cat’s vision and even cause blindness. Compared to the frequency of its occurrence in humans and dogs, however, this ocular disorder is rarely seen in cats, says Thomas Kern, DVM, associate professor of ophthalmology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Nevertheless, all cat owners should be able to recognize the physical and behavioral signs of this disorder and understand the special needs of a visually impaired feline.

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