What are Lenticular Sclerosis?
Lenticular sclerosis is common in older cats and is often mistaken for the development of cataracts. However, unlike cataracts, lenticular sclerosis, also referred to as nuclear sclerosis, does not affect vision and does not require treatment. It manifests as a bluish, cloudy haze in the center of your cat’s eyes. The condition usually occurs in both eyes and it is a normal occurrence in aging cats that will progress as your cat gets older.
Symptoms of Lenticular Sclerosis in Cats
As your cat ages it is common to notice a cloudy area on its eye. This is often mistaken for a cataract, but there are several symptoms specific to lenticular sclerosis that distinguish it from a cataract. Cases of lenticular sclerosis exhibit the following symptoms:
- Bluish cloudy spot on your cat’s eye lens
- Pupils become grey and cloudy instead of black
- Usually appears in center of both eyes
- Is transparent/light passes through
- Does not significantly impair your pet’s vision
Causes of Lenticular Sclerosis in Cats
The cause of lenticular sclerosis is not entirely understood. It is thought to be the result of a buildup of lens fibres as your cat ages, which causes a hardening of the eye lens. Your cat produces these fibers throughout its life, however, the size of the eye lens does not increase. This causes a fiber buildup that results in thickening of the lens as the animal ages. Lenticular sclerosis is considered a normal result of the aging process. It begins to develop in older cats, usually at around eight to ten years , and becomes more pronounced as the cat ages.
Diagnosis of Lenticular Sclerosis in Cats
Your veterinarian will perform an optical exam of your cat upon presentation of a cloudy spot on the eye to determine if it is a cataract or lenticular sclerosis. Lenticular sclerosis will appear as a round cloudy spot in the center of your cat’s optical lens. Your veterinarian will examine your cat’s eyes with an ophthalmoscope to determine if he or she can still see the cat’s retina. Your vet may use medicated eye drops to prevent the pupil from constricting while using the scope. If the retina can be seen it is an indication that light is passing through, and the cat’s vision is not impaired. In cataract cases, light does not reach the retina and vision is impaired. It is important to determine if a cataract is present, since correction of that condition requires surgery.
Treatment of Lenticular Sclerosis in Cats
No treatment for lenticular sclerosis is necessary. It is a normal condition present in your aging cat. Your vet will continue to monitor your cat at regular checkups for the development of cataracts, which affect vision and do require surgical intervention.
Recovery of Lenticular Sclerosis in Cats
Lenticular sclerosis does not require ongoing management, however, as your cat ages you should monitor for any signs of impaired sight or changes to the cloudy spots in its eyes which might indicate cataracts. If changes to eyes or eyesight occur you should follow up with your veterinarian.