Retinal Detachment in Cats: Everything You Need to Know

The retina is the innermost structure of the eye and is located at the back of the eye. It consists of a network of visual cells and a functioning retina is a prerequisite for vision. The function of the retina is to send the impulses we receive from the environment to the brain via the optic nerve. In the brain, the impulses are then processed into the images that make up our vision.

Retinal detachment

When the retina is not attached to the substrate, it loses its blood supply and therefore does not receive either oxygen or nutrients. In the end, it does not work for long. If only a small area of ​​the retina is affected, there are blind areas in the patient’s field of vision. If the entire retina is loose, the cat is blind in that eye.

Retinal detachment usually occurs in connection with high blood pressure but also spontaneously. In addition, it can occur in infections inside the eye or as a complication after cataract surgery.


Retinal detachment does not cause pain and the condition can be very difficult to detect before the cat has impaired vision or has become blind. A cat that sees poorly can have difficulty orienting itself, start bumping into things that it has previously been able to avoid or chase a mouse. The pupil is often enlarged and does not contract when exposed to light.


A special examination of the eye (electroretinography) can reveal whether the retina of the eye is functioning optimally. The electrical activity in the eye is then measured. The examination is performed by an ophthalmologist, a specialist in eye diseases.


The affected eye must be operated on relatively quickly. This is done under general anesthesia and is performed by an ophthalmologist. The retina is anchored to the back wall of the eye, so that it again comes into contact with the blood vessels and in this way it can grow in place again. After the operation, the patient regains a partial vision, but it will not be as before.


A cat with impaired vision or completely blind can live a normal life. It quickly learns to navigate in familiar surroundings and is not in pain. You must help the cat not to refurnish too often and place food and food bowls in the same place every time. If your cat is used to being outdoors and it is not a solution for it to become an indoor cat, the best solution for it may be to be rested by you on a leash.

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