Cloudy Eyes in Senior Cats: What to Watch For

Cat With Cloudy Eyes
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Achy joints, hearing loss, deteriorating vision: Getting older is tough on all of us, including our cats. One of the things you may notice as your cat ages is that his brilliant eyes become cloudy or hazy. That can be a normal sign of aging, or it can be a sign of serious disease. Here’s what to look for to catch problems early so they can be treated.  

Hazy Shade of Blue 

We often see cat owners who are concerned that their cats may be developing cataracts because the cats' eyes look cloudy. More often than not, that blueish haze is lenticular sclerosis, also known as nuclear sclerosis.

This condition is a result of the normal aging of the lens of the eye. New fibers form on the surface of the lens, and the lens starts to lose moisture as the years go by. These changes cause a blueish haze to develop.

We typically see lenticular sclerosis start to appear in cats when they are approximately 10 years old. Unless the cat lives to be very old, this change in the lens doesn’t seem to affect his vision. It’s not painful, and it doesn’t require treatment.

Cats and Cataracts

When the lens of the eye becomes opaque or milky in appearance, it may be a cataract. Cataracts can block light to the retina, causing vision loss or even blindness. Fortunately, cataracts are rare in cats.

The good news is that cataracts aren’t painful and may not impair your cat’s ability to get around the house. Cats usually deal well with vision loss, relying on their hearing and whiskers to move around confidently. If cataracts are causing your cat difficulty, though, a surgeon can remove them. Removing the damaged lens and replacing it with an artificial one can restore or improve the cat’s eyesight. A complete eye exam is necessary beforehand to make sure the eye is otherwise healthy; for instance, if the retina is damaged, cataract surgery won’t improve the cat’s vision.

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