What Should We Know About Inherited Corneal Disease In Cats?


Corneal dystrophy or inherited corneal disease in cats is an hereditary progressive illness that affects both of the eyes. The cornea or the clear outer layer of the eye is what’s more affected. Further, the disease isn’t in association with some other diseases, as well as seldom happens in cats. In this article, we will discuss further what this feline condition is, its causes, symptoms, as well as prognosis and treatments. If you want to know all of these and more, feel free to give this article a read.

Inherited Corneal Disease in Cats: What is this feline eye condition?

The center of the cornea is the part of the eye that is most often affected by the inherited corneal disease in cats. These particular deposits start to develop when the epithelium hasn’t properly attached into the descemet membrane. This may cause erosions to develop into the cornea that heal so slowly. The deposits of cholesterol and triglycerides start to fill these erosions. This happenstance is often referred to as the lipidosis. Most of the cases don’t actually cause pain, yet advanced cases might lead to eye irritation and eventual blindness. In the event that the bullae surprisingly form, they might be fairly painful for your cat. A veterinary attention may provide an aid to the suffering symptoms of the cat from the inherited corneal disease.

Moreover, the cornea is the front-most outer layer of the eye. It is dome-like in shape and clear. Further, it is constructed of the stroma, endothelium, epithelium, descemet membrane, and basement membrane. The cats who have inherited corneal genetic materials might start to develop perceptible deposits in the eye, known as the corneal dystrophies. These particular dystrophies are often cloudy-white, and may vary greatly in size and shape. Furthermore, the condition in cats are rare, yet if it’s present, it may often start to show while the cat is still a youngster.

Causes of Cat Inherited Corneal Disease

The inherited corneal disease in cats may result from defective genetic materials being passed on from one or both of the parents of a cat. It happens more often in the purebred cats, rather than in the mixed cat breeds. This just indicates that inbreeding might be at fault for the condition. It may exist as a declining gene in the Manx Breed of cats.

Symptoms of Cat Inherited Corneal Disease     

In some of the cat cases, inherited corneal disease in cats may start unilaterally, affecting an eye first and spreading into the other one. Varying on the part of the eye that’s affected, some instances may form bilaterally, as well as show symmetrical deposits in both of the eyes. The signs and symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • Ocular pain
  • Blindness in advanced circumstances
  • Symmetrical deposits in both of the eyes
  • Erosions and ulcerations on the cornea
  • Opaque, visible white spots in the eyes

Prognosis of Cat Inherited Corneal Disease

In the event that the symptoms have started to show and you’re really concerned regarding the possible pain in the cat, take it into the vet for some professional assessment. Moreover, the vet may perform ophthalmologic and physical examination on the cat. Additionally, an exaggerated visual of the affected eye may show a presence like crushed glass in the areas of deposit. Provide the veterinarian with the full medical history of the cat, so that some possible causes of corneal disease may be excluded.

In order to determine the composition of the deposit, a biopsy might be taken, frozen, as well sent off to a laboratory for a histopathological examination. This may help in differentiating fat deposits from some other opacities of the cornea. The full blood work must be run, including a CBC and a biochemical profile, in order to assess the general health of the cat, as well as monitor the triglycerides and cholesterol levels, high cholesterol levels may exacerbate the dystrophy. Further, the application of fluorescein stain to the cornea may help in identification where the issue is. In the event a lipid deposit is existent near the surface, the stain may not be retained, nonetheless if the issues have endothelium or epithelium, the stain may stay. The tests for cat leukemia virus for hypothyroidism must be run, since they may also cause lipid deposits in the cat’s cornea.

Treatments for Cat Inherited Corneal Disease

In the event that the cat has inherited corneal disease, they may be treated with the use of antibiotic eye medications. Further, the stromal corneal dystrophy commonly doesn’t need any treatment. The endothelial corneal disease might be treated with the use of contact lenses over the eyes of the cat. Additionally, the epithelial corneal tags might be removed as well. A different possible treatment for the endothelial corneal disease is flap surgery of the conjunctiva. Though a corneal transplant might be beneficial, the results are actually erratic.


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