Glaucoma in cats poses a significant threat to their vision, characterized by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) that can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and blindness. Surgical intervention plays a crucial role in managing feline glaucoma, offering hope for preserving vision and improving quality of life. This article delves into the world of glaucoma surgery for cats, covering its purpose, common procedures, recovery, and the impact it has on feline ocular health.

Table of Contents

Understanding Feline Glaucoma

Overview of Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of ocular diseases characterized by progressive optic nerve damage and visual field loss due to elevated intraocular pressure. In cats, primary glaucoma, which occurs spontaneously, and secondary glaucoma, resulting from underlying ocular or systemic conditions, can both lead to vision impairment and blindness.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of glaucoma in cats may include ocular pain, redness, corneal edema, dilated pupils, vision loss, and enlargement of the affected eye(s). Diagnosis typically involves measurement of intraocular pressure, assessment of ocular structures using specialized equipment, and evaluation of systemic health to identify underlying causes.

Surgical Intervention for Feline Glaucoma

Purpose of Surgery

The primary goal of glaucoma surgery in cats is to reduce intraocular pressure, alleviate pain, and preserve vision by enhancing aqueous humor outflow or reducing aqueous humor production. Surgical intervention may be considered when medical management alone is insufficient to control glaucoma or when rapid pressure reduction is necessary to save the eye.

Common Procedures

Several surgical procedures may be employed to manage glaucoma in cats, including:

  • Cyclophotocoagulation: Laser treatment aimed at reducing aqueous humor production by targeting the ciliary body’s secretory tissue.
  • Trabeculectomy: Surgical creation of a drainage channel in the sclera to facilitate aqueous humor outflow and lower intraocular pressure.
  • Implantation of Drainage Devices: Placement of shunts or tubes within the eye to divert aqueous humor from the anterior chamber to the subconjunctival space, reducing intraocular pressure.

Preoperative Evaluation

Before undergoing glaucoma surgery, cats undergo a comprehensive veterinary examination, including ocular assessment, imaging studies, and evaluation of systemic health to assess surgical candidacy and plan appropriate treatment.

Recovery and Postoperative Care


Following glaucoma surgery, cats may require medications to control pain, inflammation, and prevent infection. Topical or systemic medications, such as analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics, are commonly prescribed to promote healing and comfort.

Ocular Protection

To minimize postoperative complications and promote healing, cats may need to wear an Elizabethan collar or receive instructions to avoid activities that could traumatize the surgical site during the recovery period.

Follow-up Examinations

Regular follow-up examinations with a veterinary ophthalmologist are essential to monitor postoperative healing, assess treatment outcomes, and detect any signs of glaucoma recurrence or complications.


Surgical intervention plays a crucial role in managing feline glaucoma, offering hope for preserving vision and improving quality of life. By understanding the purpose, common procedures, recovery, and postoperative care associated with glaucoma surgery, cat owners can make informed decisions about their pet’s ocular health and ensure the best possible outcome. With advancements in veterinary ophthalmology and skilled surgical expertise, cats affected by glaucoma can receive comprehensive care and enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life.

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