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Feline Eye Removal/Enucleation

By Dr. Gabriel Mills, Veterinarian National Greyhound Adoption Program/Dutton Road Veterinary Clinic
Posted: March 24, 2017

This surgical case involves a young cat, approximately a year old, with severe eye problems. The patient had what is suspected to be “microphthalmia” a condition that is characterized by small and usually malformed eyes present at birth. Usually not painful, the eyes can occasionally become infected due to entrapment of debris and other bacteria, as is present in this case. Removal of the infected eye is typically required and, as is probably obvious, results in complete resolution of the condition. Our patient had the condition in both eyes, but much worse on the right side and this is the eye that we will remove.

The eye is prepared for surgery by flushing the eye with dilute betadine and clipping and scrubbing the surrounding tissues. A lidocaine solution is injected behind the eye to reduce post-operative discomfort.

The eye is then sewn shut to prevent contamination of the surrounding tissues by the fluid and any residual bacteria present within the eye.

The skin is then incised around the eye, dissecting to the deeper tissues. The orbital muscles are released from the globe and the optic nerve and blood vessels are severed, thereby releasing the diseased eye. Critically important is that no undue traction is placed on the eye as the optic nerve can be damaged resulting in blindness in the other eye.

This image shows the eye completely removed, along with any diseased tissue trapped under the eyelids. A “mesh” barrier is placed within the socket, using suture, to prevent future sinking of the eye socket, resulting in a more cosmetic appearance. The socket is then closed over by suturing in multiple layers.

Here’s our happy guy 3 days post-op. In a great mood and enjoying life again.
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