The sight of a much-loved cat has been restored at a Cumbrian veterinary hospital using pioneering surgery that is only performed at a handful of centres in the world.

The highly-complex procedure carried out by Linnaeus-owned Veterinary Vision in Penrith on two-year-old Neo, a British Shorthaired cat, involved reattaching a torn retina is his left eye, as well as removing a cataract and inserting an artificial lens, to restore his sight.  

The retina is responsible for turning light into electrical impulses, and is similar to the digital sensor of a camera. However, when the retina is torn it cannot self-reattach and Veterinary Vision is one of very few centres worldwide that has the ability to surgically reattach the tissue. 

Such was the success of the operation, that Neo, who is owned by Lisa King and her husband Jonathan from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, is reported to be back on rodent patrol in his garden, chasing flies through the air and his brother round the garden.

Chris Dixon, veterinary ophthalmologist and clinical director at Veterinary Vision, said Neo, who was also diagnosed with a cataract in his right eye, was referred to them by James Rushton, head of ophthalmology at Paragon Veterinary Referrals in Wakefield.

Both referral practices are owned by Linnaeus, with Veterinary Vision providing particular expertise in this specific surgery.

“James and his team had identified that Neo had lost sight from his left eye due to a torn retina,” said Chris. 

“Retinal detachment occurs when retinal tissue separates from the inner lining of the eye and the majority of cats diagnosed with this condition can be treated medically, but this is not the case when the retina is torn.

“The surgery was complex and involved the removal of the cataract from the left lens prior to reattaching the retina. The sophisticated system at Veterinary Vision allows us to remove the degenerate vitreal body and replace the detached tissue with very small instruments.

“A combination of specialised procedures held the retina in place while the torn edge was sealed with a laser.

“Neo’s recovery was excellent and Lisa and her husband Jonathan were extremely diligent with his post-operative care.”

Lisa said: “Neo was diagnosed with eye issues at six to seven months of age and has been monitored every six months.

“It was at a routine review that we were advised he had detached his left retina and would go blind in that eye if nothing was done.

“We were referred urgently to Veterinary Vision to see Chris Dixon, who came highly recommended by our current veterinary ophthalmologist.

“The referral process was simple and seamless, while the staff were so helpful and friendly and you could tell the care and attention they took with Neo.

“His quality of life has been saved by the skill and dedication of Veterinary Vision.”

Veterinary Vision is equipped for all types of ocular surgery with 11 veterinary ophthalmologists offering a vast range of experience and knowledge in small animal, and equine eye conditions. 

For more information visit or search for Veterinary Vision on social media.

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