What causes Blindness in Cats

Cats have superior eye site to humans, when an owner notices their cat going blind it can be stressful and in some cases this may not be obvious in the beginning.

So, what are the Causes?

Hypertension or high blood pressure can cause sudden vision loss, this is the most common cause of blindness and is more frequent in senior cats, this can be caused by an underlying condition. High blood pressure this is where damage can occur to small blood vessels in the back of the eye that can lead to bleeding, or fluid leaking out of the vessels, causes retinal detachment, so the cat will no longer be able to see.

Optic neuritis is a condition where the optic nerves that carries the visual information to the brain becomes inflamed and as a result no longer functions, causing blindness this is a rare disease in cats.

Diseases of the Brain since the visual signals pass through the optic nerves to the brain and are processed within the brain, if there are diseases affecting the brain, like infections inflammatory conditions or tumours this can potentially lead to blindness.

Retinal Degeneration Just as with humans, cat’s can suffer with degeneration of the layer of light sensitive cells at the back of the eye the retina which is responsible for vision. This is often a slow process which allows cats to adjust to their reduced vision, however on rare occasions this can be sudden.

Cataracts This is rarer in cats than dogs, because cataracts can lead to Glaucoma, it is important to search out and treat the underlying cause if cataracts are found, surgery to remove the affected lens is possible and lens implants are sometimes used to approximate normal vision.

Glaucoma increased pressure within the eye is one of the most prevalent cause of blindness in cats, it can be treated in early stages with medication to help reduce the intraocular pressure, by a calcium channel blocker which may also help to prevent damage to the retina and optic nerve in advanced cases.

Eye Tumours such as Iris Melanoma tumours of the eyelid, and other types of tumours.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an untreatable condition that is most likely inherited, it progresses slowly but eventually results in total blindness. The condition is not painful and because of the gradual nature cats often cope well with the decreasing ability to see.

Injury to the Eye

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or reddening of the pink membrane that lines the eyelid, often causing Squinting eyes, Herpesvirus is of the source of conjunctivitis in cats’ eyes. Stress is a key factor in repeated instances, is important this is treated.

How do Blind Cats Cope?

Cats are very resilient they can adapt their senses enhance they use their hearing, whiskers, smell, and touch and vibrissae hairs on their feet and their face to compensate for loss of vision they can do this so well others may not realise they are in fact blind.

How to Assist your Cat? Keep furniture in the same place and keep to your cat’s normal routine as unchanged as possible, their food dish, bed, litter box and other needs should be in their normal places. Try to avoid moving furniture and keep any stumbling blocks out of their way, always try to relax your cat. Make children aware and no sudden noises and rushing to the cat this can scare them and make them uneasy.

Diet often has a lot to do with conditions so keeping your cat healthy with good food is key some herbal remedies for site are Ginkgo Biloba, Bilberry, Omega 3 Vitamin E and Fennel. Warm Salty water to clean the eye.

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