Eye Problems in Cats

Any changes you notice in your cat's eyes should be investigated by your vet as soon as possible. Cats can suffer from three serious diseases of the eye, all of which can progress to blindness. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and glaucoma. If you suspect the sudden onset of blindness, see your vet without delay; it may be possible to restore your cat's vision with treatment. If the third eyelid is visible, it may indicate that the cat has an eye injury, is suffering from dehydration, infection, or possible stress

Progressive retinal atrophy is a degenerative disease of the retina. The condition is hereditary in Abyssinians and most typically affects young kittens within the first three months of life. Siamese cats can sometimes be affected, but it usually happens in middle age. PRA is not painful, but is progressive and untreatable, leading to total blindness. Cataracts are most often seen in elderly and diabetic cats but may also be a congenital defect. Glaucoma, which is relatively uncommon in cats, occurs if too much fluid pressure builds up within the eye, either because excessive fluid is produced or not enough is being drained away. The excess fluid causes the eyeball to enlarge and exert pressure on the delicate retina, damaging the cells and causing pain as well as reducing vision. Glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops, surgery and therapy, if caught in time. If untreated, permanent blindness can result. If your cat goes around squinting and rubbing his eyes, he may have entropion, a condition in which the edge of one or both eyelids is rolled inward so that the lashes rub against the surface of the eye causing squinting, irritation, and discharge. The problem can be corrected by surgery.

Common Eye Symptoms

Surface looks cloudy ("blue") - Cornea inflamed due to injury (often a fight) or infection. Wipe eye gently with cotton cloth. Keep out of bright light, and see your vet.

Pupil looks cloudy or white - Lens cataract; typically an age-related change. Can also be due to injury, infection, diabetes, or congenital defect.. See you vet to check your cat's general health.

Fixed, dilated pupils - Retinal problems, glaucoma, cataracts, tumors, infections of the eye or brain, or a blow to the head.. See your vet as soon as possible.

Eyeball protruding from socket - Prolapsed eyeball; usually trauma-related, but may also be due to tumor at back of socket.. Cover with moist, clean eye pad. See vet immediately.

Eye looks red. Hemorrhage (blood) in the eye, conjunctivitis - See your vet as soon as possible.

Prominent third eyelid ("skin across eye") - Trauma to eye, indication of poor health, dehydration after diarrhea or vomiting, sedation. Monitor cat's health. See vet in 24-48 hours, if not sooner.

Eye half-closed - Foreign body in eye, irritant, flu, trauma (injury). Clean eye gently with damp cotton ball every hour. If no improvement, see your vet.

Clear discharge - Blocked tear duct, allergic conjunctivitis. As above

Sticvky, yellow, or green discharge - Infectious conjunctivitis, tear film problem. As above. Check vaccine status. Keep isolated, see vet.

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