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15 yr old spayed cat's eye slowly darkening
An_221014 posted:
Over a year ago I noticed a subtle change in my (Itty Bitty Kitty) 15 yr old female cat's left eye--it was darkening toward the bottom of the eye. Over this period of time it has increasingly but very slowly darkened from what seems to be the bottom up and the entire eye is now completely darkened, though not black (can see her iris through the darkness). It causes her no pain--she does not paw at it--and it is not dry or draining. It is hard to determine if she is blind in that eye even when holding her because she's so sensitive to her environment anyway and she responds to waving a hand to that left side because she knows there is activity over there. I have googled and am wondering if this could be feline iris melanoma. I would have to think long and hard at her age before having her eye taken out to diagnose this. Thanks for any help.
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
The iris is the colored part of her eye, and forms the pupil. If that's the part that is darkening, you need to let your veterinarian take a look at it. Usually, dark brown pigment is an age-related change and does not require treatment. But black pigment may indeed be a melanoma. If that's the case, removing her eye is the only effective treatment and must be done promptly, as these tend to metastasize quickly. There are other things your veterinarian will look for, so don't go just by the color. If there's any doubt, your veterinarian can refer you to a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice
An_221015 replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
Thank you so much for your reply, Dr. Weigner. When I said you can still see the iris, I was wrong I meant that black area in the very center, the pupil. I can see that but her entire eye has turned brown and you can see the black pupil but it's like looking through a brown screen. I am taking her to the vet Friday--he thinks that the "brown screen"might be melanin (?) covering her eye and will require steroid drops for a couple of months. Something about dry eye? (Although the eye appears lubricated to me. We'll see what he says.In testing her vision this weekend, I believe she is blind in that eye for certain. Thanks again so much for responding. If you have other ideas, I'd love to hear them. Liv
ESVS2 replied to An_221015's response:

What did your vet say? We discovered that our own 11 year old cat is having the same exact issues. Curious as to what you found!

Thanks in advance for sharing!
Bessmom replied to ESVS2's response:
Not sure why I am just getting notification of this response -- sorry not to have replied sooner. Sadly, Itty Bitty Kitty died 6 1/2 months ago. I am not sure the eye was related to her death, but she died at age 16 of kidney failure. cShe didn't suffer long. My vet was never sure about the cause of her eye shading over so I will be curious what you have found out about your 11 yr old cat. Itty Bitty Kitty never suffered from any pain with the discolored eye and she was indeed blind in that eye. I do still miss her. Best wishes with your cat's situation--I would like to know if you find out anything! Liv


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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