Corneal Surgery in the Cat: Diseases, considerations and techniques

J Feline Med Surg. 2022 May;24(5):429-441. doi: 10.1177/1098612X211061049. Epub 2021 Nov 30.


Practical relevance: The ability to recognize, diagnose and treat corneal disease is essential for maintaining vision and comfort in feline patients. Being able to correctly identify appropriate techniques for surgical cases is of particular importance for success when performing corneal surgery.

Clinical challenges: Many different corneal diseases present with similar clinical signs, and it can be hard to determine the appropriate treatment for individual patients. It is essential for the clinician to understand the indications for corneal surgery, instrumentation needed and microsurgical principles prior to attempting these procedures. The prognosis following surgery and potential complications should be discussed with the client.

Audience: This review article aims to assist in decision-making and to provide detailed guidance for primary care clinicians considering referral of cats for corneal surgery. The review outlines common feline corneal diseases and associated surgical therapies performed by veterinary ophthalmologists, highlighting appropriate instrumentation and case selection. Some surgeries are explained in depth for ophthalmologists and residents in training.

Equipment: Although some procedures may be performed with common surgical equipment and supplies, most require specialized ophthalmic instrumentation and expertise, which entails significant microsurgical training and practice, as well as financial investment. Most of the procedures require an operating microscope for the best surgical outcomes; however, surgical loupes may be sufficient in some cases. Evidence base: This review article compiles information from many published references on feline corneal diseases and surgeries, complemented by the experience of the authors.

Keywords: Keratoplasty; corneal transplant; corneal ulcer; keratectomy; keratitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / surgery
  • Cats
  • Corneal Diseases* / surgery
  • Corneal Diseases* / veterinary