A cataract is an opacity of the lens within the eye. The lens functions to focus light that enters the eye onto the retina. When a cataract develops, this focusing ability is reduced causing a slightly blurred vision initially, to complete blindness if encompassing the entire lens. The main form of treatment
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and restoration of your loved one’s sight is cataract surgery.
Cataracts can form within the lens due to hereditary (genetic) defects, systemic metabolic diseases (i.e. Diabetes Mellitus), long term inflammation, secondary to trauma, or as a function of age. Phacoemulsification cataract surgery has a 95% success rate for restoring your pet’s sight.
To determine if your pet is a candidate for cataract surgery the following presurgical tests are performed.
Pre-surgical Blood Tests
This is to ensure that your pet’s systemic health and organ functions are within the normal limits or as close to normal and safe for general anesthesia.
Doppler Blood Pressure Measurement
This test is to ensure that your pet does not have underlying high blood pressure, as this is common in our older pet population.
This test evaluates the iridocorneal drainage angle within the eye. Abnormalities of the drainage angle may mean that your pet is predisposed to secondary glaucoma (elevated pressure within the eye). If this is present, then adjunct endolaser surgery may be recommended.
This test allows us to visualize the posterior half of the eye that is blocked by the cataract. We rule out signs of a retinal detachment or congenital malformations within the eye.
This test evaluates the function of the retina within the eye. This is to ensure that the retina is working and sending information to the brain appropriately. Your pet will dark adapt for 20 minutes and then a flash of light will be directed at the eye being tested. The retina converts this flash of light into an electrical response that is measured by a surface contact lens placed on your pet’s eye.
Patients who have cataracts and are candidates for cataract surgery typically require pre- and post-surgical anti-inflammatory medications. With successful cataract surgery, most patients will receive a new artificial lens implant, providing focused vision. However, in some patients and certain situations an artificial lens may not be able to be implanted. In these cases, patients are still able to see, better than when cataracts were present, but the sight is far-sighted.
Call Veterinary Vision Center today to determine if your pet is a candidate for cataract surgery.