Sudden-onset blindness | BSAVA Library

Sudden-onset blindness

image of Sudden-onset blindness
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Sudden-onset blindness is a veterinary emergency. Typically the affected cat is anxious and disorientated, with changes in behaviour such as bumping into things, walking in a crouched position and showing a reluctance to jump. This chapter looks at causes, assessing the blind cat, caring for a blind cat and when to refer.

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4.8.1 Tapetal hyper-reflectivity and moderately dilated pupils in a young cat with retinal degeneration of unknown cause.
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4.8.3 Dilated pupils, tapetal hyper-reflectivity in the right eye and a visibly detached retina in the vitreous chamber of the left eye in a hypertensive cat. A fold in the retina can be seen at the dorsal aspect of the left pupil, and the blood vessels within the retina are visible as they are in a forward position, just behind the lens. Vessels are never visible unaided in a normal eye. Hyphaema in the right eye, and mydriasis and tapetal hyper-reflectivity in the left eye of a hypertensive cat.
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4.8.4 The right eye of a cat which went missing for a week and returned blind and lame. There is conjunctival hyperaemia, and hyphaema, and the pupil was quite dilated. There is a small skin wound above the medial canthus (arrow). The left eye of the same cat. There is depigmentation and alopecia of the lateral canthus, indicating a healing wound, and conjunctival hyperaemia. The lateral aspect of the cornea has neovascularization around a black corneal wound. The pupil is dilated, and difficult to see in detail because of a diffuse haziness in the anterior chamber caused by resolving hyphaema. There are reflections on the cornea, both medially and laterally, from the hand holding the eyelids open when the photograph was taken. A radiograph shows several gunshot pellets; additional pellets were shown on thoracic and abdominal radiographs.
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4.8.5 Fundus photographs of a cat that had received 20 mg/kg enrofloxacin orally q24h for 5 days, and presented suddenly blind. One week after blindness; the fundus looks relatively normal with some mild tapetal hyper-reflectivity visible dorsal to the optic disc. Five weeks later there is much more advanced retinal degeneration, with more pronounced tapetal hyper-reflectivity, very marked retinal blood vessel attenuation, and a very pale optic disc due to the loss of vascularization. (Courtesy of David Gould)
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