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The most common and indicative sign of iris bombe is the altered and strange appearance of your cat’s eye. The iris may appear a marbled, or different color, and the pupil may appear to have changed shape. Iris bombe can be very serious, and may cause an acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve is destroyed by elevated intraocular pressure and is a cause of blindness in cats. It is very important that your cat receives veterinary treatment immediately, as it may be the difference between your cat maintaining or losing its sight.
Iris bombe is a condition that is the result of the accumulation of fluid in the posterior chamber of the cat’s eye. This fluid causes a great deal of pressure, forcing the peripheral iris to bulge. The increased fluid is the result of an irregularity of the synechia, the adhesions that attach the iris to the rest of the cat’s eyeball. This fluid-caused pressure is likely very uncomfortable and even painful for your cat and often causes mild to severe decrease in vision.
The first symptom that will likely be noticed by pet owners is the altered appearance of the eye. In addition to this sign that your cat needs immediate veterinary attention, the following symptoms may also be present:
It is not uncommon that the cause of a cat’s iris bombe is unable to be determined, even by a veterinarian. The following causes, however, may be considered by your veterinarian:
As is typical, your visit to the vet will likely begin with the vet listening to your report of the symptoms you have observed in your cat and to the duration of those symptoms. The vet will usually perform a thorough physical examination to determine the cat’s overall health and, if possible, review the cat’s medical history.
The veterinarian will be looking for evidence that will help the vet to rule out other serious ocular conditions such as intraocular neoplasia, cataracts, persistent pupillary membranes, iris hypoplasia, and conjunctivitis.
In response to a case of iris bombe in a cat, the following two factors must be considered in devising a plan of treatment:
These two factors may be addressed in the following ways:
Permanent loss of vision is always a risk with iris bombe. The likelihood of a cat retaining its sight depends upon how far the cat’s condition has progressed before treatment is sought. If the cat is seen by a veterinarian in the early stages of iris bombe while the cat’s sight is still intact, before glaucoma has developed, the cat will have a much better chance at a full recovery. There will likely be one or more follow up appointments so the vet can assess the progress of any treatments.
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