Eye Problems in Cats
Cats can get various eye problems similar to the eye problems in human beings. Eye problems in cats can be as a result of trauma to the eyes, bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Eye infections in cats are one of the most common reasons for visiting a vet.
Cat’s eyes are very delicate and once the owner takes notice of an eye problem they should act quickly. One should not delay visiting the vet because some eye problems can lead to blindness. Eyes are very important to a cat as they depend on their sight for hunting and protection.
Cats have an extra eyelid known as the nictitating membrane. When the nictitating membrane is visible, it means that something is wrong. Try to examine the eye that looks infected and compare it to the other eye. Check if the eyes are similar in size, color, and shape.
Symptoms of Eye Problems in Cats
- Some conditions can cause lid irritation that can cause swelling, itching, and crusting.
The eye may become cloudy. Disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts can cause eye cloudiness, and the extra eyelid becomes visible.
- The cat may be in pain. Indicators of pain such as tearing and squinting can be a result of injuries to the cornea.
- Discharge from the cat’s eyes. One may notice a clear discharge indicating that there is an infection in the cat’s tear drainage path. If the discharge is sticky and the eye is red, it shows that the cat has conjunctivitis or pink eye disease.
- The cat may also have abnormal eye movements.
Lack of the shiny surface in the cat’s eye. Cats’ eyes have highly reflective surfaces, and if you look at the surface and it looks dull or there is no reflection then it is abnormal.
Constant winking and keeping the eye closed is a sign that the cat has eye problems. One of the common causes is the presence of a foreign body in the eye, trauma infection, and eye inflammation.
Types of Eye Problems in Cats – 6 Types
- Conjunctivitis: It is also referred to as the pink eye. It is an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the eye’s outer layer, and eyelid’s inner surface. Symptoms of conjunctivitis are swelling pink or red color, and sticky discharge.It can be caused by allergens, viral and bacterial infections.Cat viruses such as feline herpes virus cause pink eye. Pink eye can be as a result of allergens such as dust, pollen, perfume, cigarette smoke, and grass. Pink eye from allergens can be treated by administering antihistamines to the cat and keeping the cat away from the allergens.
- Cataracts: a cataract is an opaque spot in the eye that prevents light from getting into the retina. It occurs when the proteins in the eyes lens clump together leading to a breakdown of the lens. Cataracts can cause partial blindness. Majorly, cataracts are because of aging, but they can also be caused by diabetes or exposure to toxic substances. Cataracts can also indicate a calcium deficiency. Bill Saxon DVM talks about other causes of cataracts in this post.Some of the signs and symptoms are cloudy eyes. Cataracts are only visible when they have advanced enough and at this stage, they can impair vision.If you notice that your cat is bumping into things and has slow movements then it could be having cataracts. Cataracts caused by diabetes may show symptoms such as weight loss and frequent urination.
- Glaucoma: The condition occurs when there is a build-up of fluid pressure in the cat’s eye. It occurs when watery fluid produced by the eye fails to drain properly. The watery fluid accumulates and puts pressure on the optic nerve.Excessive pressure buildup damages the optic nerve and this can cause blindness. Middle to aging cats are are more prone to develop glaucoma.Glaucoma can be caused by eye infections, eye tumors, trauma, and abnormalities in the anatomy of the cat. Symptoms of glaucoma are such as eye rubbing, cloudy eyes, and reddened eyes, crying, and squinting. In case you suspect that your cat glaucoma, take her to the vet immediately to avoid loss of eyesight.
- Irritation: It less common to find itchy and watery eyes as a result of allergens in cats. However, if dust, cigarette smoke, grass, and other allergens get into the cats’ eyes it may lead to redness of the eyes and itching and discomfort.Major signs are squinting, redness, discharge, and rubbing. If you can correctly identify the irritants that are in your cat’s eyes, rinse the eyes using an eyewash solution.
- Corneal ulcers: This occurs when the shiny surface is damaged. Dry eyes, eye injuries, and untreated eye infections can cause it. Signs of corneal ulceration are squinting, cloudiness, rubbing, discharge, and redness.If untreated, corneal ulcers can lead to blindness. These ulcers can heal by dealing with the underlying cause, use of antibiotic drops, and pain relief. If the ulcer is deep, it may require surgery.
- Eye inflammation or uveitis: It occurs when the vascular portions in the eye get an inflammation. Some of the causes of uveitis are trauma, immune problems, cancer, and infections. If not treated, this condition can negatively affect your cat’s vision.Signs and symptoms include cloudiness, redness, discharge, and excessive tearing.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. For example, if the eye is cancerous, surgery will be necessary to remove the eye. Uveitis can lead to other eye issues such as glaucoma.
Most of the cat’s eye problems can be treated using PetAlive Eye-Heal and drops prescribed by your vet. Bacterial infections should be treated using antibiotics (topical or drops). We recommend Vibactra – All-Natural organic antibiotic alternative for pets.
If the eye problem is viral, the vet may recommend the use of a viral and antibiotics.
Many eye problems in cats look alike. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure that the cat gets a physical examination by the vet to get an accurate diagnosis. Always maintain regular vet visits for routine examination and diagnostics to identify eye problems before they lead to blindness. Stay up to date on all vaccinations, feed your cat well, and limit your cat’s exposure to strange cats that may be having contagious diseases.
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Founder of LoveEachPet.com