Glaucoma is a very dangerous condition which results in blindness. It is the most common cause of blindness in cats and dogs. Cats of various breeds are susceptible to Glaucoma and as such care should be taken if one finds any early symptoms in your pet.
What is Glaucoma?
For this, one has to understand the working of the eye and its aqueous humor. This fluid maintains the shape of the eye as well as nourishes it. But for smooth functioning of the eye, the amount of aqueous humor produced should be equal to that which is drained out so that a balance is produced. Sometimes there is an excess of this liquid which is produced or some problems generate by way of blockage due to which the draining procedure is reduced. This results in a imbalance resulting in increase of pressure in the eye causing it to bulge or get enlarged. This pressure can destroy the retina and optic nerve causing permanent damage to the eye which can result in blindness. This disorder is called Glaucoma. There are two types of Glaucoma found in cats, Primary and Secondary Glaucoma. The first type i.e. primary Glaucoma is mostly caused due to inheritance tendency in which there is a problem in the drainage of aqueous humor from birth. This may cause the disorder of Glaucoma in later stages of life of a cat. This is a rare disorder and is found in only 5 to 10% of the Glaucoma affected cats.
The other type of Glaucoma i.e. secondary Glaucoma is basically the most common of the disorder. It is caused due to side-effects of some other disease or disorder in the cat. Various diseases can cause the blockage of the fluid aqueous humor from draining out. In this, inflammation is the most common cause. Inflammation results in debris which then blocks the flow of the fluid. Another cause of secondary Glaucoma are tumors caused inside the eye which block the smooth process of the flow. There are also other causes such as trauma during injury or lens laxation i.e. dislocation of the eye lens.
Symptoms of Glaucoma – The symptoms of Glaucoma in cats can be easily seen externally. The first indication is that of Red eye. The eyes of the cat appear red and this goes not increasing as the disease advances. The cat yells a lot as the eye becomes painful. You may often find the cat squinting again and again, the cornea becomes cloudy. Some other symptoms are taring or dilated pupils which does not react to light. Blindness in the eye is the last symptom. At times green or yellow discharge from the eye is also seen.
Diagnosis of Glaucoma in cats – Diagnosing of Glaucoma in cats can be done by the veterinary doctor and results may be identified if it is a primary or a secondary Glaucoma. It is done by measuring introcullar pressure (IOP). For this instruments such as Schiotztonometer or Tonopen is used.
Treatment of Glaucoma in cats –
- Hospitalization is required for treatment of Glaucoma in cats.
- Medications are prescribed to be given for removing the blockages caused due to above mentioned causes & for the smooth drainage of excessive fluid. These medications are in the form of eye-drops.
- The other option is to go in for surgery to reduce the process of manufacturing of fluid. For this, a process called cryotherapy i.e. freezing of the cells is used or else laser surgery may be the other option. Surgery kills the cells in front section of the eye.
- Surgical removal of the eye is the last resort for treatment. If the cat has lost its vision completely, but if the pain continues, it is advised to remove the eye and if required a prosthetic ball can be fitted in. The glaucoma can be removed thus curing the disorder. This process is called as enucleation.
Prognosis – Glaucoma is a very common disease found in cats of various breeds. Treatment of Glaucoma is very expensive as the cat has to undergo surgery and hospitalization. As such frequent and periodic checkups should be made along with eye readings if symptoms of Glaucoma are found. Normally if one eye is infected, the other eye may soon catch up the infection. Also apply topical or oral medications as directed at the first signs of the disorder. Lastly, it can be said that your cat is valuable to you, please take its proper care.