4 Common Cat Eye Problems
Eye problems are very common in cats, plus there are a wide variety of eye issues that can affect our feline friends. While some cat eye problems are minor and resolve with appropriate treatment, other issues can be serious and lead to further issues. To make things even trickier, many eye problems in cats result in similar symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate one issue from another. That’s why Thomas Labs® is here to help!
Here are a few common eye problems in cats!
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) & Other Eye Infections
Eye infections and conjunctivitis (pink eye) are probably the most common cat eye problems. Conjunctivitis in cats is an inflammation or infection of the moist tissues in the front part of the eye.
Symptoms: Symptoms can include eye discharge, swelling, persistent squinting, redness, rubbing, sneezing, and nasal discharge.
Causes: Eye infections in cats can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses (feline herpes virus), upper respiratory infections, allergens, foreign particles, and parasites.
Treatment: Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the infection. According to PetMD, treatment of mild viral infections often focuses on treating the symptoms including getting rest, keeping the eyes and nose clear of discharge, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet. For a more severe infection, veterinarians often prescribe topical eye ointments. If there’s a bacterial infection present, the vet will prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection.
Complications: Sometimes cat eye infections can be a recurring problem, and they can also lead to the development of secondary conditions like corneal ulcers. It’s important to note that some eye infections can be contagious to other cats, and some can even be transmitted to people. If your cat has an eye infection, make sure you take the proper steps to reduce the risk of transmission.
Corneal ulcers are another common eye problem in cats. The cornea is the transparent, outermost layer forming the front of the eye. It allows light to enter the eye and plays an important role in focusing vision.
Symptoms: Corneal ulcers can make the cornea appear cloudy. Other symptoms include squinting, redness, eye pain, and discharge.
Causes: Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea. There are a wide variety of causes including injury or trauma, infection, disease, inadequate tear production, and anatomical eye abnormalities.
Treatment: Treatment of corneal ulcers depends on the underlying cause and severity of the ulcer. Treatment for mild cases or superficial corneal ulcers may include antibiotic drops or ointment and pain relief. Deep corneal ulcers may require surgery.
Complications: Corneal ulcers are a serious issue. If left untreated, they can result in the development of dead tissue over the ulcer, loss of vision, or even blindness.
Cataracts are another cat eye problem, although they aren’t as common. They block light from reaching the back of the eye, which can result in poor vision and blindness.
Symptoms: Cataracts appear as a clouding of the eye lens and can give the pupils a white or milky appearance. They are often confused with a condition called lenticular sclerosis, which is a normal change in the lens associated with aging. Both of these conditions can cause cloudiness and discoloration on the pupil.
Causes: Cataracts are often caused by inflammation in the eye, which can be the result of trauma or disease.
Treatment: There isn’t a medical treatment to reverse the effects of cataracts. However, underlying issues should be treated, and sometimes cataract surgery is an option.
Complications: In severe cases, cataracts can result in blindness.
Glaucoma is a sustained increase in fluid pressure within the eye. Normal eyes are constantly producing and draining fluid. Sometimes there are issues with the drainage of this fluid, which causes eye pressure to increase, resulting in glaucoma.
Symptoms: Symptoms can include redness, squinting, eye pain, eye enlargement, cloudiness, and watery eyes.
Causes: Glaucoma can be caused by infection, inflammatory disorders, trauma, tumors, anatomical eye abnormalities, and lens luxation (dislocation).
Treatment: If an underlying cause can be determined and treated, the cat’s glaucoma may resolve as well. Otherwise, treatment involves trying to manage and control the glaucoma with eye drops, steroids, and other medications to reduce eye pressure and relieve pain.
Complications: In severe cases, cats can lose their vision and even their eyes.
Diagnosing & Detecting Cat Eye Problems Early
Taking steps to maintain and protect your cat’s eyes is important. It can be difficult to know whether your cat’s eye problems are minor or serious. A good rule of thumb: if your cat has red eyes or significant eye discharge, you should consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Routine checkups and examinations can help detect eye disorders and issues early before they become a bigger problem!
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.