Retinal detachment in cats: symptoms, cause, treatment and prevention


Retinal detachment is one of the causes of blindness in the cat. It is therefore a serious eye problem that requires urgent consultation with a veterinarian. All cats can be victims. Let’s take stock of the role of the retina, the symptoms suggesting retinal detachment, its main causes and see what are the means of management.

The role of the retina

The inner surface of the eyeball is lined with a membrane made up of several cell layers, some receive light, others transmit it to the brain via the optic nerve, and the brain transforms electrical information into an image. The retina is therefore a neurosensory tissue essential for sight. It is made up of rods and cones, photoreceptors without which it would not be possible to see black, white, and colors. Rods are involved in night vision and cones are involved in day vision (day vision).

But sometimes, part of the retinal surface lifts up from the retinal pigment epithelium due to infiltration of the vitreous body, a viscous intraocular gel that is also called vitreous humor. We are then in the presence of a detachment of the retina.

Retinal detachment: symptoms in cats

The cat owner should make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as he notices the following symptoms:

  • The animal bumps all over the place during its movements due to a loss of vision,
  • The cat seems clumsy because it can no longer catch the small mobile that is waved in front of it very well,
  • One pupil is dilated (or both if the retinal detachment affects both eyes).

The loss of vision can be very rapid, and the cat is at risk of losing their sight. We must therefore react urgently.

Retinal detachment in cats: the causes

Here are the main causes of retinal detachment in cats.

  • Thearterial hypertension is responsible for hypertensive retinopathy. This ocular damage is manifested by vitreous and retinal hemorrhages but also by detachment of the retina. High blood pressure is by far the primary cause retinal detachments in older cats who usually suffer from chronic kidney disease.
  • Some Infectious diseases can cause retinal detachments as well as retinal hemorrhages.
  • A dysplasia severe congenital retina.
  • The cataract.
  • A inflammatory disease.
  • A trauma.

The risk of a sudden major visual deficit is extremely important, regardless of the cause of the retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment in cats: treatment and prevention

There is no no treatment detachment itself, but it is the cause that must be treated. For this, the veterinarian must therefore identify it as quickly as possible so that the cat can benefit from a targeted protocol. However, in some cases, the practitioner can perform a parallel act of vitro-retinal surgery. It is a heavy intervention because of its complexity, and veterinarians still rarely resort to it today.

We can’t always prevent retinal detachment in cats, especially when it is due to aging. However, you must limit the risks by taking care of the health of your small animal. The best way to do this is to have a regular follow-up. The veterinarian can thus check the eyes of the cat but also make a complete assessment, which makes it possible to detect a disease early and therefore, to treat the animal as quickly as possible, before the damage is irremediable.