Research: Visual Outcomes in Equine Cataract Surgeries

Dennis Brooks, DVM, PhD, DACVO, and colleagues looked retrospectively at phacoemulsification cataract surgery in 95 foals and horses from 1990 to 2013 to try and identify any post-operative complications that affected vision in the horses. Their conclusion was that, “at least 26.3% of horses are still visual and able to continue their natural activity for two years or more postoperatively.”

This paper entitled “Visual outcomes of phacoemulsification cataract surgery in horses: 1990–2013” was published in Veterinary Ophthalmology in April 2014. The paper can be found at


“Cataracts were removed by phacoemulsification from 111 eyes of 95 horses ranging in age from 22 days to 26 years (average 8.0 ± 5.7 years). Forty-four of the 95 animals were foals (46.3%). Sixteen horses or foals had surgery bilaterally. One hundred and two eyes were blind preoperatively with 97 eyes (95.1%) having evidence of vision immediately postoperatively. Ninety of the 95 horses (94.7%) regained vision in the immediate postoperative period. Five horses did not recover vision postoperatively. Twenty-four horses had cataracts associated with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). Trauma was noted as the cause of cataract in 10 horses, and no specific cause for the cataract identified in 61 horses. The combined visual outcome data from horses with all types of cataracts (n = 95) found 83 (87.3%) horses to be visual ≤1 month postoperatively, 47 (49.4%) horses visual for >1–6 months postoperatively, 33 (34.7%) horses visual from >6 to 12 months postoperatively, and 25 horses (26.3%) visual >24 months postoperatively.”


Dennis E. Brooks, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Caryn E. Plummer, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Susan M. Carastro, Animal Eye Specialty Clinic, West Palm Beach, FL, USA

Mary E. Utter, University of Pennsylvania, Kennet Square, PA, USA

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