Glaucoma in Cats

Cat blind in one eye

Could Glaucoma Destroy Your Cat's Vision?

Glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause vision loss in humans, may also affect your favorite feline. Although cats can develop the disease at any age, older cats may be at increased risk.

How Glaucoma Affects Eyesight

Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside your cat's eye rises dangerously high. Increasing pressure damages the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting nerve impulses from the eyes to the brain. The brain then turns the impulses into images. If the optic nerve is damaged, impulses can't reach the brain and partial or complete vision loss occurs. Once damage to the nerve occurs, nothing can be done to restore the lost vision.

The pressure inside the eye may begin to rise if the aqueous humor, the fluid that gives the eyeball its shape, can't drain properly. The problem may occur if tiny drainage channels that remove excess fluid become blocked.

Two Types of Glaucoma Can Cause Vision Issues for Cats

Cats can suffer from primary or secondary glaucoma. Primary glaucoma, the least common type, is often inherited. Burmese, Persian, and Siamese cats are more likely to develop primary glaucoma, which usually affects both eyes, according to Stefano Pizzirani, DVM. Dr. Pizzirani, who shared information about the condition in a Tufts University article, also noted that the condition can affect domestic shorthair cats.

Secondary glaucoma develops after a cat has had an eye infection, inflammation, injury, tumor, or if the clear lens inside the eye becomes detached. Cats affected by secondary glaucoma may develop symptoms in one or both eyes. Uveitis, a type of eye inflammation, is most often to blame for secondary glaucoma. The inflammation causes scar tissue that blocks drainage channels. Uveitis is more common in middle-aged or older cats, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

Since pressure changes in your cat's eye can happen slowly or suddenly, it's important to call the veterinarian if you notice any changes in your pet's eyes, even if they seem minor. Treating eye infections promptly may reduce your cat's risk of vision loss.

Signs and symptoms of glaucoma may include:

  • Eye pain
  • Squinting
  • Behavioral Changes (Irritability, loss of interest in usual activities, and other behavioral changes may occur if your pet is in pain.)
  • Red or Bloodshot Eyes
  • Cloudy Cornea (The cornea is the clear layer of tissue that covers the iris and pupil.)
  • Eye Discharge
  • Dilated Pupil
  • Swollen or Bulging Eyeball (Bulging or swelling may occur as the pressure rises inside the eye.)

How Veterinarians Treat Glaucoma in Cats

Restoring normal pressure in the eye will limit the damage to your pet's vision. Your pet's veterinarian may prescribe eye drops that lower the pressure inside the eye. You will need to put the drops in your cat's eyes several times per day for the rest of your pet's life.

If inflammation is the source of the problem, a steroid may be prescribed to reduce the inflammation. Surgery may be needed to drain the excess fluid or prevent fluid from building up in the eye. If these treatments aren't helpful, it may be necessary to remove your cat's eye. Although living without an eye is certainly a major transition, many cats do adapt to losing one or both eyes with the help of their families.

Have you noticed any changes in your cat's eyes? Call us right away to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Glaucoma

PetMD: Glaucoma in Cats, 12/3/09

Tufts University: Feline Glaucoma: Diagnosis and Treatment, 4/1/13

Catster: Let’s Talk Uveitis in Cats and Why Your Vet Should Check It Out ASAP, 4/24/18

Contact Us Today!

Contact us using the form or call us at 804-741-3200.

Monday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Tuesday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Wednesday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Thursday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Friday:

8:00am

6:00pm

Saturday:

8:00am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Evans was so patient and kind with our kitty "Cookie". Very caring and so helpful and answered many questions for me concerning her health. The office staff are kind, caring, and professional. The office is immaculate. I have never been to a vet where my pets and myself were treated so well. Love it and so glad to have found them. Best vet appointment ever!"
    Dorothy M.
  • "We have used the Q for over 15 years for our cats and our dogs. Dr. Mortimer is a genius at diagnosing and treating a wide array of issues, and we have relied on his skills to help our animals live to amazing ages. The staff is incredibly caring. They do everything possible to help when we call or come in with a sick animal. They truly care for our pets, and many of the staff will come out from the back to pet our dogs
    when they come in. They are so patient with shy animals like our ferally cat Stasha who needed laser treatments, and our Bagle Topsy who is afraid of her own shadow.Yes, they are not the cheapest vet in town, but they work with us on making a treatment plan we can afford, and we feel that the value and the care are well worth it. Thank you to everyone at the Q for their dedication and loving care."
    Sally M. / December 21, 2017
  • "Met with Dr. Hiser today for the first time. Everyone at the
    clinic--from the desk staff to the vet techs to the veterinarian were warm and welcoming. My dog Iris--who is often nervous around new people--was comfortable there and (I think) made a few new friends. Looking forward to a continued relationship with the clinic as my sweet girl grows up. Thanks, thanks thanks."
    Stephanie C. / June 27, 2018
  • "My three chihuahuas have been Dr. Mortimer's patients for over nine years. The expertise, love, and care demonstrated for each pet is extraordinary. The doctors and staff go the extra mile to help their patients and the parents. They are truly an amazing group that love and care for each pet. If there was a review rated outstanding, that would have been my choice!"
    Donna C. / June 10, 2018
  • "I would highly recommended QVH. All of the staff are so kind and compassionate. They are so willing to help and never mind answering any questions you may have, even if it's 100 questions they are so patient. They genuinely care and treat your pets as if they were their own. And I cannot say enough about Dr. Hiser. She is amazing. Even on her days off she would still call and check in on my dog. I am so appreciative of this place and the staff. It's a great feeling to be completely comfortable with putting your pets care in someone's else hands and trusting them to provide the best service."
    Taylor H. / August 25, 2018
  • "I have been seeing Dr. Evans for at least 20 years. Her manner, knowledge, staff and facility are exceptional. I am a health care provider myself and hold the care of my pets to the highest standards....and I have never had a second thought about the care or recommendations of Dr. Evans. I moved out of town 6 years ago....and drive 3 hours each way to see her."
    Kimberley W. / April 2, 2018
  • "Wouldn't trust my four-legged Kids to anyone else - they have guided us with all our dogs through the years. The entire staff is kind and patient with the animals (and their parents)."
    Karen K. / November 7, 2017

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles