Cat Eye Health: Conditions & Treatment

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A healthy eye is clear, bright and white.

Your cat’s eyes are fragile, beautiful, and important! If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please schedule a visit for your feline friend right away. Signs of illness include cloudiness or dullness, abnormal discharge or excessive tearing, stained fur around the eye, red inner eyelids and the ‘third eye’ coming across the eye.

Common Eye Conditions

Conjunctivitis is commonly caused by allergies or bacterial, fungal or viral infections such as feline herpesvirus. This leads to inflammation of the membrane that protects the white of the eye and inner eyelid.

Corneal Ulceration is a result of a scratched or damaged cornea. This commonly occurs from fighting or a bacterial or viral infection.

Watery Eyes often occurs when there is a malformation of the tear ducts, but it can also be inherited. Watery eyes cause the eyes to excessively ‘weep’ and stains the fur around the eyes.

Cataracts is a serious eye condition that clouds the lens of the eye. The only treatment is surgery. Older and diabetic cats are common sufferers of cataracts.

Glaucoma occurs when there is too much pressure in the inside of the eye due to fluid accumulation. We see glaucoma most often in older and diabetic cats.

Diagnosing Your Cat’s Eye Condition

  • Fluorescein stain detects corneal ulcers
  • Schirmer Tear Test detects tear production
  • Ocular Pressure identifies glaucoma
  • Ophthalmoscopy allows us to look inside the eye chamber

Treating Your Cat’s Eye Condition

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed in the form of drops or ointment.  Follow these step-by-step guides to treating your cat’s eye infection:

Eye Drops

  1. Apply saline solution to a cotton ball and gently remove any discharge around your cat’s eye.
  2. Hold your cat at a comfortable height or on your lap, and do your best to lay them on their side.
  3. Check the proper dosage on the bottle, and shake before administering.
  4. Support your cat’s head with one hand and hold the bottle in your other hand.
  5. Gently tilt back your cat’s head and use your free fingers to open the eyelids.
  6. Get the bottle as close to your cat’s eye as possible, but DO NOT make direct contact.
  7. Squeeze the bottle and let go of your cat’s head.

Eye Ointment

  1. Use a cotton ball with saline solution to clean any discharge from around your cat’s eye.
  2. Hold your cat on your lap or at a comfortable height, placing them on their side.
  3. Read the proper dosage on the bottle.
  4. Gently use your fingers to pull back the eyelids.
  5. Apply ointment to the edge of your cat’s eyelid.
  6. Let go of your cat’s head, allowing them to blink.
  7. If needed, gently massage the eyelids to spread the ointment.