Eye Ailments In Cats and What They Mean
26 March, 2013

My friend, Darlene, has a cat named Ginger whose eye just started tearing and she was a bit concerned.  Eye infections are common in cats and there are many different variations and reasons why your cat might have something wrong with his or her eyes.  If your cat’s eyes are simply tearing and it goes away in a few days, not to worry.

However, if your beloved feline has any discharge in his or her eyes or you think it might be more than just a case of dry cat eyes, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Below are some common eye ailments in cats:

Your cat’s eyes have discharge

The type or thickness of the discharge helps determine the condition. A clear discharge without redness and pain will usually have to do with a problem in the tear drainage system. A clear discharge with a reddened eye could be conjunctivitis which is sometimes a result of a viral infection. A thick, sticky, discharge, along with a red (inflamed) eye suggests possible conjunctivitis as well. Any discharge accompanied by a painful eye is usually associated with the possibility of cornea or inner eye involvement.

Pain in your cat’s eyes

If your cat seems to have excessive tearing, squinting (closing down one or both eyes), tenderness to the touch, and avoidance of light, he or she needs to go to the vet.   Your cat will usually paw his or her eye or try to rub it. The usual causes of a painful eye are injuries to the cornea and diseases of the inner eye.

Cloudy eye

There are certain diseases that change the clearness of the eye, making it cloudy or as if the cat has a blind eye. This cloudiness can vary from a small, localized haziness to the pupil being almost invisible. Loss of clarity or transparency of the eye indicates an inner eye disorder.

This is usually associated with signs of pain. Cataracts are the most likely cause when the eye is not painful.  If your cat has cloudy eyes, you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Changes in your cat’s pupils

If you cats pupils are enlarged or dilated, it usually means that there is an issue with the inner eye. The pupil may become fixed and unable to dilate or constrict. A hard eye with a dilated pupil indicates glaucoma. A soft eye with a small pupil indicates inflammation of the inner eye.

Your cat’s eyes seem either bulging or sunken.

A bulging eye occurs with glaucoma, tumors, and abscesses behind the globe, and with an eye out of its socket. A sunken eye is accompanied by dehydration, weight loss and eye pain.

Abnormal eye movements

If your cat’s eyes start to shift or seem to focus in different directions or jerk back and forth, this could be a cause for alarm.  Of course, the occasional abnormal eye movement is very normal in our felines.

Eye color changes to a yellowish tint

A change in the color of your kitty’s eyes may indicate a melanoma. If the eyes are yellow, it is indicative of jaundice. While I hope your cat never experiences any of the above eye pain or infection, this article can give you a barometer of what to expect.  As always, go see your veterinarian if your cat’s eyes look abnormal or different in any way.

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