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Eye Problems in Cats

Taking care of your pets can be tricky to navigate. After all, they can’t tell us with words if something is bothering or upsetting them. But by being in tune with our cherished fur baby’s needs, we can get a pretty good idea if a problem needs attention. 

If you’re concerned about eye problems in your cat, we can help with information on possible symptoms, causes and treatments. Find the advice you seek here or contact us today for further advice and guidance concerning your cat’s eye problems. 


How Should a Healthy Cat Eye Appear?

A healthy cat’s eye should appear clear and bright. The pupils should be the same size, and the area around the eyeball should be white. The eyelid lining should be pink, not red or white.

How Do I Know if my Cat has Eye Problems?

Are you concerned that your cat is suffering with their eye health? Although they can’t communicate what might be bothering them, problems with your cat’s eyes usually manifest in a visual form. Find a full list of symptoms that could represent a possible problem or infection with your cat’s eye. 

What are the Symptoms of an Eye Problem or Infection?

If you believe your cat’s eye does not look healthy or normal, there could be a problem of infection. The following symptoms can indicate your cat has something wrong with one or both of her eyes:

  • Watering eyes/tearstained fur
  • Discharge from eye
  • Crusting in the corner of the eye
  • Squinting or closing eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Change in eye colour
  • Rubbing eyes on the ground or furniture
  • Pawing eyes
  • Bulging eyes
  • Bumping into furniture
  • Stumbling up or down stairs

If your pet shows any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.


What Causes Eye Problems in Cats?

There are several common eye problems seen in cats, so there could be a number of potential causes inciting poor health in your cat’s eyes. For example, watery eyes or epiphora can be caused by allergies, blocked tear ducts or overproduction of tears. Here are a few more common eye problems in cats and what could be causing them to help you narrow down your issue. 

Red, Swollen Eyes: Conjunctivitis

If your pet has conjunctivitis, either one or both eyes will appear red and swollen and usually produce discharge. Suppose your cat is also suffering from diarrhoea and fever. In that case, this could indicate a more serious infection, so your vet should examine her urgently.

Yellow Discharge: Dry Eye

Dry eye, or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a chronic lack of tear production and can cause yellow eye discharge, red eyes and an inflamed cornea. If left untreated, the condition can lead to blindness.

Visible Third Eyelid: Injury, Worms or Virus

The third eyelid is hidden under the visible eyelid and is white and translucent.  It helps evenly distribute eye fluid and clear the eye of debris. If the third eyelid becomes visible, it may indicate a wound or that your cat is suffering from worms or a virus.

Issues Focusing: Cataracts

Cataracts are more often seen in older or diabetic cats.  This condition affects the eye lens, causing it to harden unevenly over time and making it more difficult for the lens to stretch and focus at varying distances and in different lights. This can happen over the years or more dramatically over a short period.  When a cataract starts to affect your pet’s vision, an operation may be necessary to remove the cataract or replace the lens.

Cloudy or Bulging Eye: Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when the ducts that drain fluid away from the eye become blocked. This can cause the eye to appear cloudy and bulging.  If spotted early, you can manage this condition with medication. However, going untreated can lead to a partial loss of sight or even blindness.

Uveitis is the inflammation of the internal structures of the eye and is usually caused by trauma, disease or cancer. Treatment depends on the cause.

Poor Eyesight: Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is when the retina becomes detached from underlying tissue due to leakage or oversupply of fluid between the two layers.  This condition is usually associated with high blood pressure, kidney disease or an overly active thyroid.  In most cases, this condition will lead to permanent blindness. However, in some cases, swift treatment may restore partial vision to your cat.

Opaque, Dark Spot on Corndea: Feline Corneal Sequestration

Feline corneal sequestration is a corneal disease unique to domestic cats. It refers to the development of an opaque, dark brown/black deposit on the cornea.  Sequestra are usually oval to round and can vary in size.


Diagnosis of Cat Eye Problems

If you’re concerned your cat may exhibit any of the symptoms we have described, you should seek a formal diagnosis from your vet. They will undertake a thorough examination of your cat and look at your pet’s medical history. Likely, your vet will want to undertake urinalysis and blood tests to look at general health and testing for kidney disease or diabetes. Additional tests may be considered to look for other diseases as a cause of the eye problem, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukaemia (FeLV), feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIP), feline herpes virus (FHP), toxoplasma, Cryptococcus,


Available Treatment for Cat Eye Problem

Treatment for your cat’s eye problem or issues depends greatly on the diagnosis.  If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics will most likely be prescribed. Alternatively, if the cause is viral, topical cream or eye drops will be given. Any other underlying illness causing the eye problems must also be treated and/or monitored.


How to Prevent Eye Problems in Cats

Many eye conditions can be an indication or symptom of other diseases. It is, therefore, important to keep all vaccinations up to date and attend regular check-ups.  Examine your pet’s eyes frequently and check for any redness, colour change, cloudiness, discharge or sensitivity to light.

If your cat has discharge around the eye, make an appointment with the vet. In the meantime, you can make her comfortable by cleaning the area around her eyes. To safely do this, dip a cotton wool ball in water and wipe away the discharge, always from the corner of the eye outward. Use a fresh cotton wool ball for each eye, and only use drops or eye washes if prescribed by your vet.

Look for more information to keep your pet cats fit and healthy in our animal health space online now, where we have more feline guidance available. You can also shop our collection of pet health and pharmacy products. We are pleased to offer a range of feline health tests


Cat Eye Problems FAQs

You can find more information here if you’re still unsure of your cat’s potential eye health problems. At Home Health, we have a full animal health information hub dedicated to the well-being of pets and animals, so you can look for more advice to take care of your pets best. Just remember, you should always seek the advice of your vet if you are concerned about your pet’s health. 

Can fleas cause eye problems in cats?

Yes, fleas can cause problems in your cat’s eyes, such as infections, if the fleas are found around the cat’s eyes. However, depending on how strong the flea infestation is, the harm caused to your cat’s eyes can be much more severe. Especially if a flea lays eggs in or around the eyes. If you have found fleas on your cat and are concerned about their eyes, you should seek veterinary help immediately. 

When removing fleas from your cat, don’t apply flea medication too close to your cat’s eyes, as this can cause further damage. Instead, a flea comb is an efficient removal tool. 

Do blue-eyed cats have vision problems?

It is a common misconception that blue-eyed cats are more prone to vision problems than other cats. Blindness in cats is a hereditary or acquired issue and is not caused by the iris colour. In fact, blue-eyed cats can actually see better than other cats in the dark as their eyes lack colour in the tapetum, which reflects the red blood vessels in the retina. 

Do siamese cats have eye problems?

Unfortunately, siamese cats are known to have eye-sight problems, like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This inherited disease is known to cause siamese cats to go blind over time, and it is almost programmed into the breed. Even more upsetting, there is no treatment or cure for PRA. However, your cat can still lead a happy and fulfilled life after becoming blind with the proper care and attention.