Glaucoma in Cats (2023): Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Glaucoma in Cats

Cats are beloved pets known for their elegant movements and captivating eyes. However, those attractive eyes can be harmed by Glaucoma, a silent hazard. This eye ailment, while not uncommon, might endanger your feline friend’s vision if left untreated. In this article, we will investigate the causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, treatment choices, and preventative approaches to glaucoma in cats.

What Is Glaucoma in Cats?

Glaucoma is a condition where there is an increase in the fluid, called aqueous humor, inside the eye.

  • Aqueous Humor:

The fluid that gives eyes their round shape and delivers nutrition to the tissues inside the eye is known as aqueous humor. There is a delicate balance between having enough fluid to maintain the eye and having too much fluid, which can cause high pressure inside the eye and harm it due to a lack of outflow.

  • Intraocular Pressure:

Increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP), can cause permanent blindness if not treated promptly. Glaucoma is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) caused by a lack of aqueous fluid outflow.

Fortunately, Cats glaucoma is less prevalent than glaucoma in dogs. However, the disease’s true frequency may be higher because many instances go undetected due to the typically modest nature of the accompanying clinical indications.

Types of Glaucoma in Cats

Glaucoma is a dangerous eye disease that affects both humans and animals, including our feline companions. It happens when there is increased pressure within the eyeball, which causes damage to the optic nerve and, eventually, visual loss. Glaucoma in cats is split into two types: primary and secondary.

1. Primary Glaucoma in Cats

Primary Glaucoma in Cats is hereditary and often found in specific breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese. It is usually bilateral, meaning it affects both eyes. This form of Glaucoma occurs due to a malformation of the eye’s drainage angle, impeding the outflow of fluid and causing pressure buildup.

2,Secondary Glaucoma in Cats

Secondary Glaucoma in Cats is typically caused by an underlying condition or injury. For instance, inflammation, lens luxation, or tumors can obstruct the normal flow of fluid and elevate the intraocular pressure.

Symptoms of Glaucoma in Cats

It’s crucial for cat owners to be vigilant about their pet’s ocular health. Identifying the symptoms of Glaucoma early on can make a significant difference in the treatment outcome. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Sudden blindness
  • Red or cloudy eyes
  • Excessive tearing or squinting
  • Different-sized pupils
  • One eye that looks bigger than the other or that bulges out

Glaucoma is painful, and your cat may act differently than normal due to the pain. This can look like.

  • Avoiding or concealing engagement or play
  • Aggression without warning
  • Getting more sleep than usual  

Since glaucoma is mainly secondary to other diseases, cats may have signs of illness in other parts of their body, which may include:

  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Causes of Glaucoma in Cats

Glaucoma in cats, as in humans, is a condition characterized by increased pressure within the eye. This elevated intraocular pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss or even blindness. The causes of glaucoma in cats can vary, and it’s essential to identify and address them promptly. Here are some common causes:

  • Feline Genetic Predisposition
  • Age-related Glaucoma
  • Secondary Glaucoma
  • Trauma or Injury
  • Intraocular Tumors
  • Chronic Eye Infections
  • Congenital Glaucoma
  • Steroid-induced Glaucoma
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Eye Anatomy Abnormalities
  • Medication Side Effects
  • Systemic Diseases

How Veterinarians Diagnose Glaucoma in Cats

A simple eye test called tonometry, which measures pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP), can readily identify cat glaucoma. Cats have a normal IOP of 15–25 mmHg. Glaucoma is defined as an IOP greater than normal. IOP increases that persist will result in blindness due to damage to the optic nerve and retina.

Treatment Options for Glaucoma in Cats

Once your cat has been diagnosed with Glaucoma, the veterinarian will discuss the various treatment choices with you based on the severity of the problem and your cat’s general health.

Medical Management

Medical therapy may be the primary course of action for early-stage glaucoma. Medications, such as eye drops or oral medications, can aid in the reduction of intraocular pressure and the management of the illness. These drugs may need to be used on a daily basis, and regular check-ups will be required to assess the treatment’s effectiveness.

Surgical Interventions

In cases where medical management is insufficient or Glaucoma has progressed significantly, surgical interventions may be considered. Some of the common surgical procedures include:

  • Laser Therapy: Laser treatment can be used to enhance the outflow of fluid and reduce intraocular pressure.
  • Cycloablation: This procedure involves destroying part of the ciliary body, which produces aqueous humor, to decrease fluid production and lower pressure.
  • Gonio implantation: A small device can be implanted into the eye to facilitate fluid drainage.


The veterinarian may propose enucleation in extreme situations where vision cannot be saved and the afflicted eye is causing considerable discomfort. The surgical removal of the damaged eye to prevent future discomfort and problems is known as enucleation.

Cost of Treatment for Glaucoma in Cats

  • Medication
    • Eye drops: $200 to $400 per month
    • Oral medications: $50 to $100 per month
    • Injections: $100 to $200 per month
  • Surgery
    • Trabeculectomy: $1,000 to $2,000 per eye
    • Other surgical procedures: $1,500 to $3,000 per eye

How to Prevent Glaucoma in Cats

There is no guaranteed technique to avoid glaucoma in cats. Because primary glaucoma is inherited, it is critical not to breed cats with the disease. Secondary glaucoma can be avoided if an eye disease is recognized before it develops into glaucoma. This is why routine veterinarian checkups (once a year or more) are critical. Your veterinarian may be able to notice ocular abnormalities before or during the early stages of glaucoma.

Preventing Glaucoma in Cats

While not all cases of Glaucoma can be avoided, there are things you can do to reduce the risk and maintain the general ocular health of your feline pet.

  1. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Routine visits to the veterinarian can help detect any early signs of ocular issues, including Glaucoma.
  2. Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Providing your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to their overall well-being, including their eye health.
  3. Avoiding Trauma to the Eyes: Protect your cat from potential eye injuries by keeping hazardous objects out of reach and ensuring a safe environment.
  4. Monitoring Breeds Predisposed to Glaucoma: If you have a Siamese, Burmese, or other predisposed breed, be extra vigilant about their ocular health.
  5. Limiting Stress: Stress can have a negative impact on a cat’s health, including their eyes. Create a calm and soothing environment for your feline friend.


Is Glaucoma in Cats Painful?

Yes. Glaucoma can cause pain and discomfort in affected cats. If you notice any signs of ocular distress, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Can Glaucoma Lead to Blindness in Cats?

If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss and possibly blindness in cats.

Are Certain Breeds More Susceptible to Glaucoma?

Yes, certain breeds, such as Siamese and Burmese cats, have a higher predisposition to primary Glaucoma.

Can Glaucoma be Cured?

Glaucoma is a manageable condition, but it is not always curable. With early detection and appropriate treatment, it is possible to preserve the remaining vision and prevent further deterioration.

Are There Home Remedies for Glaucoma in Cats?

No, Glaucoma requires professional veterinary care. Do not attempt any home remedies without consulting a veterinarian.

How Often Should I Take My Cat for Eye Check-ups?

Regular eye check-ups are recommended during your cat’s routine veterinary visits. However, if you notice any concerning symptoms, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Similar Posts