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Ask A Vet: What Is Wrong With My Cat’s Eye?

Cats’ eyes are lovely windows to their souls.  Unique and beautiful, your cat’s eyes are adapted to allow her to see in low light conditions much better than you can.

cat-eye

Because the eyes are relatively large and your curious cat has his face in lots of places, his eyes are vulnerable to many insults. If you see the following signs in your own cat’s eyes, please seek medical assistance right away. Not only are ocular diseases painful and progressive, they can even lead to blindness.

Squinting

If you notice that your cat’s eye(s) seem to be partially or completely closed, it is a sign of pain.  Sometimes effected cats will seem to avoid bright lights. They may not open the eye at all or it could even be sealed closed. She might be pawing or rubbing at her eye. If your cat is squinting, you need a vet’s help. Your cat could have a corneal ulcer or an ocular infection. Don’t risk her eye. Get help.

Redness/Conjunctivitis

Redness on the eyeball itself or the skin/tissues around the eye is an indicator of inflammation. Infection or injury can cause inflammation. Sometimes the eye or tissues inside the eyelid will appear swollen and even protrude.  The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane between the globe of the eyeball and the eye socket. It can become inflamed and irritated easily. Things like pollen and dust can serve as irritants that cause redness and itching, but there are infections that can mimic irritant conjunctivitis also. If your cat’s eyes are red and swollen, it is time to seek help.

Ocular Discharge/ Drainage from the eye

Normal eyes do not drain. An ocular discharge, especially if it has any color to it (yellow, green or even bloody) is a sign that you should call your vet right away. Some cats have ongoing tear issues that cause chronic clear drainage, but if you notice that your cat’s eyes are draining, you should show your vet to be sure that there isn’t something that can be done. Acute (sudden) eye discharge is probably going to require treatment and can be a sign of a systemic upper respiratory infection or eye infection that will need prescription strength treatment.

Visible Injury

Eyelid lacerations are common. As with any injury seeking help quickly is the best chance for successful suturing and minimal scarring.  Again, if you feel that the eye itself has been injured, don’t delay.

Eyes are precious windows on the world and although your cat would probably cope swell with vision loss or even eye loss, it is always better to act quickly and save the eyes when you can.

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