Thank you Ian,
First, I would absolutely not let her out without close supervision until she has been checked by her vet. I know she will not be pleased with this, but if she has any sight compromise, we don't want her to potentially be at risk of not being able to react to outside dangers (ie cars, dogs, other cats, etc) as quick as usual.
Now if you feel that she still has sight, then this does make severe cataracts and complete retinal detachment less likely at the moment. And as long as she continues to maintain signs of at least some vision (and those pupils keep being light reactive), then this is an urgent situation but not necessarily an emergency. That said, any sudden and complete loss of sight or any eye bulging or pain would our red flags to have her seen as an emergency.
Now I must note that if Trixie doesn't have a history of eye health issues or diabetes and you do not see any obvious opacity within the eyes, then cataracts are unlikely here. You can see an example of a cataract in a cat's eye HERE . That said, if Trixie did have cataracts and removal was indicated, this would require her to be referred to a veterinary eye specialist where the cost for surgery can be between £1500 -3000 (depending on whether one or both eyes needed surgery).
Otherwise, when we have an elderly cat that appears to lose her vision suddenly or has rapidly declining vision, then we'd be a wee bit concerned about whether her retinas are under threat. So, I am glad that you are planning on having her seen in the week to come. That said, again, if we have a potential retinal detachment causing sudden blindness, I must note that it'd be ideal to have her seen as soon as possible. The reason is because if a retina is on the brink or has just detached, quick treatment can give us a chance to save her sight. If it detaches and treatment is delayed, then sight is rarely restored.
Now it is not always possible to appreciate retinal compromise on gross exam at home. Still, if we have a full retinal detachment we can sometimes see the retina float up towards the front of eye once it has peeled off the back of the eye. You can see an example of this here (example). So, if you are seeing this or any hint of this, then this would a concern and something to have seen urgently.
Just to note what can trigger retinal damage or detachment in cat’s her age, we do have a few concerns here. Often we will see elevated blood pressure induce a detachment of the retina. This can be a primary condition but it can also arise secondarily to other health issues (ie kidney disease, thyroid disease).
Another concern for vision deterioration in cats is inflammation within the eye (aka uvetitis). This again can be hard to appreciate on gross examination at home but sometimes we may see haziness of the ocular fluids within the eye. In regards ***** ***** of this type of condition, we can see viruses (FIP, FIV, FeLV), parasitic infection (ie toxoplasma), fungal infections of the eye, tumors (ie lymphoma), and bacterial uveitis within the eye.
Overall, sight deterioration can be triggered by a few different issues for cats. Cataracts are not very common to cats, but retinal disease is not uncommon for cats this age. Furthermore, if we only have sight deterioration and not full loss, then we'd also have to think about uveitis clouding her vision as well. Therefore, in this case, it is good that you plan to have a check with her vet so that the eyes can be examined and the cause of her signs diagnosed. In the meantime, I would urge you to keep her inside and to monitor her eyes closely. If you see any loss of light responsiveness, ocular pain, redness, or if either eye starts to look larger then the other; then these would be all signs of having her seen as an emergency. Otherwise, as long as she is stable, you can choose to wait for her regular vet to see her.
Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have her seen today, some veterinary practices in our country have office hours today. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get her seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local vets or Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get her checked out sooner then there are options to have her seen today too.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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