An ingenious vet at one of the UK’s leading animal eye hospitals has successfully adopted a cosmetic treatment for humans to help save a cat’s eyes.

Two-year-old Oreo had been in pain and discomfort since being born with abnormally-formed eyelids which meant his eye lashes were turned inwards and irritating both his eyes.

A common remedy is reconstructive surgery to reshape the eye lids using skin grafts taken from the lips but veterinary ophthalmologist Natasha Carr-Sycheva, from Linnaeus-owned Eye Vet in Sutton Weaver, Cheshire, took a novel approach to avoid such surgery.

Natasha explained: “Oreo underwent a detailed ophthalmic examination using a slit-lamp biomicroscope, which found the outer aspect of his upper eyelids had not formed.

“The diagnosis was bilateral upper eyelid agenesis – a congenital condition where the hairs from the upper eyelids rub against the surface of the eyes, causing irritation and discomfort.

“The challenging aspect of this case was the extent of the agenesis. Three-quarters of the upper eyelid had not formed and surgical repair would have required extensive skin grafting to repair.

“After discussing surgical options, including using portions of the lips to graft new eyelids, the owner opted to pursue our alternative solution of using hyaluronic acid filler injections.

“These fillers are actually used in human aesthetic lip enhancement but we were confident they could also be used in this different way to help Oreo.

“The benefits of the injections are that they’re quicker, minimally invasive, only require sedation, not a general anaesthetic, and recovery is shorter and less painful.  

“There’s also an immediate beneficial effect with this technique and once the patient has recovered from the sedation there is usually no further recovery period required.

“It certainly worked well for Oreo. He was sedated and we used surgical operating loupes to magnify his eyelids to ensure the filler was injected into the correct position to direct the hairs away from the surface of the eyes.”

Oreo’s owner Joanne Salomon, from Hooton, Cheshire, is certainly delighted with the outcome, saying: “When we heard about this ground-breaking treatment from Natasha and Eye Vet, we thought it was such a great idea.

“It’s a much less invasive procedure compared to an operation and without all the trauma and risks associated with surgery, so we were keen to try it.

“We’re very pleased with the results. Oreo certainly seems happier, he has come out of himself more and is a lot more playful, which is all wonderful to see.

“We’re also now able to tell everyone that our cat’s had cosmetic surgery – and how many people can say that!”

Eye Vet Referrals is a dedicated ophthalmic practice providing the best ocular care for pets across the North West of England. For more information, visit

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