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From weepy eyes to ulcers – find out everything you need to know about eye problems in cats and how to treat them in our handy free guide.

Cats are naturally curious and love to explore, so it’s not surprising for owners that they can get all sorts of problems. One of the most common areas for cats to get problems is their eyes. There are a lot of viruses and diseases that can cause eye problems along with things they could pick up out and about.



Symptoms of eye problems in cats

There are a lot of different eye problems cats can get, so their symptoms will depend on the condition they have.

Some symptoms to look out for that might show your cat has a problem with their eyes, though, include:

  • weepy or runny eyes (discharge or tears)
  • squinting with one or both eyes, even when it isn’t bright
  • swelling
  • redness
  • change in eye colour (for adult cats)
  • their eye might look cloudy
  • bumping into things because they can’t see them
  • visible third eyelid (you might see this at the inner corner of their eye)
  • scratching and rubbing one or both eyes more than usual
  • a lump on or near one of their eyes

If you notice anything wrong with your cat, make an appointment straight away with your vet so they can check them over.

Common eye problems in cats

Just like us, there’s a range of problems cats can get with their eyes. From conjunctivitis to cataracts, it’s important to be aware of some of the things that can go wrong.

Some more common eye issues in cats include:

  • eye infections, usually caused by a virus or bacteria and often cause redness, swelling and irritation
  • injuries, such as scratches to the surface of the eye
  • conjunctivitis, which causes very runny, red eyes, often caused by irritants
  • glaucoma, or increased pressure in the eye, is a painful condition that can lead to sight loss
  • ulcers, wounds on the surface of a cat’s eye
  • lumps, which can appear anywhere around a cat’s eye and have many different causes

Causes of eye problems in cats

Which eye problem your cat has will depend on the cause. There are a number of possible causes for eye problems, including:

  • viruses and bacterial infections
  • parasites
  • allergies
  • irritants (such as perfumes, dust, cleaning chemicals etc)
  • injuries (such as getting something stuck or fighting)
  • cancer

How to treat eye problems in cats

Treatment for your cat’s eye problem will depend on the condition they have, but could include:

  • antibiotics (for underlying infections)
  • eye drops
  • pain medication
  • surgery

Treating eye problems in cats at home

If your cat has a problem with their eyes, we would always recommend seeking advice from your vet in the first instance. They will be able to work out what is causing your cat’s problems and recommend a treatment. They may need antibiotics or special eye drops in order to heal properly, which can’t be covered using any home remedies.

Some home remedies may actually make things worse for your cat and result in more extreme veterinary treatment later down the line, which could cost you a lot and cause your cat to become more stressed.

Your vet may be able to recommend a few things you can do at home if your cat does have an eye problem, however. Gently wiping away any discharge with a clean, damp cotton wool pad can help. You should also make sure they take any medication prescribed by your vet and wear a buster collar if that is what is recommended. Regularly checking your cat’s eyes for problems can also really help them in the long run.

What do I do if my cat goes blind?

Cats adapt much better to losing their sight than humans do. Their sense of hearing and smell are much better than ours so they tend to use these to help them get around if they can’t see.

Many cats can still have a good quality of life even if they go blind. You may need to restrict outdoor access to keep them safe and make some other adjustments, but it’s still essential for them to be able to play, groom, scratch and have access to their favourite spots in the home in order for them to have a positive experience.

You can read more information about caring for a blind cat on our free advice page.

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