ISSN 2398-2969      

Cataract: acquired



  • See also cataract Cataract for details of diagnosis and management.
  • Cause: multiple etiologies all resulting in similar clinical picture.
  • Signs: of underlying disease and lens opacity.
  • Diagnosis: recognition of cataract and identification of underlying cause.
  • Treatment: manage cause, cataract surgery may be indicated.
  • Prognosis: depends on cause.



  • If injury penetrates lens capsule → cataract Cataract traumatic - Jack Russell Terrier 2 years.
  • Cataract may be focal (at point of capsular penetration) or may over days/weeks radiate (from point of capsular penetration) to involve whole lens.
  • Also occur following radiation damage, eg radiotherapy for nasal neoplasia.
Progressive retinal atrophy Uveitis
  • May be associated with posterior synechiae.
  • Uveitis Uveitis may occur secondary to lens damage (in this case may be aqueous flare in acute phase and possible posterior synechiae as a later change).
Glaucoma Lens luxation
  • All luxated lens Lens: luxation eventually → cataracts.
  • May → glaucoma → cataract.
  • Cataract Cataract secondary to retinal dysplasia - English Springer Spaniel may be associated with retinal detachment or other concurrent ocular anomalies that result in uveitis.
Drug toxicity
  • May be transient Cataract toxic 01 - Beagle young adult.
  • Increased levels of free radicals in lens, eg substituted hydrocarbons → transient hyperglycemia → cataract.
  • Uncommon cause of cataract occasionally due to intra-ocular tumor abutting lens.
  • Neoplasia may also cause glaucoma/lens subluxation/uveitis → cataract.
  • Hyperglycemia, ie diabetes mellitus results in altered osmotic gradient and water is drawn into the lens Diabetic cataract Crossbred 12 years.
  • Hypocalcemia is very rare cause.
Dietary deficiencies
  • Occurs in puppies fed milk replacements.
  • Cause may be amino acid imbalance.
  • Often do not progress to total vision loss.


  • May be acute (diabetes mellitus) Diabetes mellitus (over days) or develop over months.


Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Denis H M, Brooks D E, Alleman A R, Andrew S E & Plummer C (2003) Detection of anti-lens crystallin antibody in dogs with and without cataracts. Vet Ophthalmol (4), 321-327 PubMed.
  • Williams D L, Boydell I P & Long R D (1996) Current concepts in the management of canine cataract - a survey of techniques used by surgeons in Britain, Europe and the USA and a review of recent literature. Vet Rec 138 (15), 347-353 PubMed.
  • Davidson M, Nasisse M, Jamieson V et al (1991) Traumatic anterior lens disruption. JAAHA 27 (4), 410-414 VetMedResource.

Related Images

Want more related items, why not
contact us

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

We have an ever growing content library on Vetlexicon so if you ever find we haven't covered something that you need please fill in the form below and let us know!


To show you are not a Bot please can you enter the number showing adjacent to this field