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Separation of the Inner Lining of the Eye in Cats

Retinal Detachment in Cats

Retinal detachment is a disorder in which the retina separates from the innermost lining of the eyeball. This can be caused by a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors, and in some cases is a result of a more serious underlying medical condition. There are some forms of treatment, although retinal detachment may lead to permanent blindness.

The condition described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how retinal detachment affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Cats experiencing a detached retina may show signs of blindness or reduced vision. In some cases, the cat's iris may stay dilated and will not adjust properly when exposed to light.

Causes

While retinal detachment can happen in any breed and at any age, it is more common in older cats. Some animals are born with congenital defects that cause retinal detachment to occur immediately or in the long term. If both retinas are detached, it is most likely a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. Glaucoma, for instance, is one such condition. Exposure to certain toxins can also cause the retina to detach.

High blood pressure (hypertension) in cats has been shown to be a causative factor for retinal detachment. Other metabolic causes can include hyperthyroidism, characterized by increased levels of thyroid hormone; hyperproteinemia, which is increased protein in the blood; and hypoxia. Other causes can include trauma to the eyes, ocular neoplasia (tumor growth on the eye), and inflammation of the blood vessels in and surrounding the eye.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will conduct a full eye exam and order a complete blood work-up on your cat to examine whether the retinal detachment is due to a more serious underlying medical condition.

 
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