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Glaucoma in Cats: Causes, Signs and Prevention

Updated: Feb 13

Glaucoma is an eye disease in cats that can result in blindness. It is important to know the signs and take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything. Symptoms include squinting, redness, cloudy eyes, and dilated pupils. If glaucoma is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage, so don’t ignore these signs!

What is Glaucoma in Cats?

Glaucoma in cats occurs when the glaucoma fluid pressure builds up inside of your pet's eye. This accumulation of pressure can result in damage to the optic nerve, which is what connects your cat's retina with his brain and transmits messages about sight. If left untreated, glaucoma results in blindness.

The leading cause for glaucoma to occur is when there is a blockage inside your pet's eye. This leads to an increase in pressure and can come from congenital defects (present at birth), trauma, or tumours that press on the optic nerve. Behaviour changes such as lethargy, apathy and depression may be present in glaucoma cats due to their loss of vision.

Glaucomas may also be caused by diabetes mellitus, which increases blood sugar levels leading to inflammation within the eyes and damage due to high glucose amounts. Glaucoma can occur as a primary condition, meaning it has its distinct cause, such as trauma or abnormal drainage. It can also be secondary to another health condition.

Because glaucoma in cats usually occurs as they age (usually after seven years), it is essential that regular veterinary examinations are undertaken. Glaucoma in your cat’s eye is not something that you will be able to see yourself, but there are some signs of glaucoma that you can. Actioned quickly, glaucoma can be effectively treated to avoid permanent damage.

It can often be found in overweight cats, as glaucoma can occur when the drainage channels become blocked with fat. If glaucoma has already damaged the optic nerve, there is no chance to restore your pet’s sight, proving just how important it is to closely monitor your pet's health; prevention is always better than cure!

Symptoms of Glaucoma:

- Cloudiness in your cat's eye

- The eyes appear red and irritated

- Your cat may squint or shut one eye when exposed to bright light

- The cat may rub or paw at the eye

- Glaucoma causes a buildup of fluid which will cause the eyes to protrude from their sockets

How to Treat Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is incurable; however, the pain and symptoms can be alleviated by your veterinarian with an appropriate treatment plan. Reducing eye pressure and preserving vision is the main goal to ensure your cat’s comfort and quality of life.

Preventative care is the best way to ensure your cat does not suffer from glaucoma. Firstly, get your pet checked yearly for diabetes-related eye problems by a veterinarian. Secondly, act fast by scheduling an appointment for your pet if they show any signs of glaucoma.

Final Thoughts

Cat glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness if not treated promptly. Glaucoma in cats is treatable, but early diagnosis is critical to avoid blindness or permanent damage to their eyesight!


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