Seeing “eye to eye” with your cat may be one of the best things you ever do for her health. A good home eye exam just before grooming can clue you into any tearing, crust, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem. Here are few simple tips to keep your kitty’s eyes bright, healthy and on the prize—you!
Face your cat in a brightly lit area and look her in the eyes. They should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. Her pupils should be equal in size.
A Closer Look
Roll down your kitty’s eyelid gently with your thumb and take a look at the lid’s lining. It should be pink, not red or white.
What to Watch Out For
How can you tell if there is something wrong with one or both of your cat’s eyes? Look out for the following:
- Red or white eyelid linings
- Crusty gunk in the corners of the eye
- Tear-stained fur
- Closed eye(s)
- Cloudiness or change in eye color
- Visible third eyelid
Certain body language will also alert you to possible eye distress. If your cat is constantly squinting or pawing at her eye area, give her eyes a good inspection. If you find any of the above symptoms, you should immediately call your vet.
A Little Wipe Goes a Long Way
Wipe away any crusty gunk from your cat’s eyes with a damp cotton ball. Always wipe away from the corner of the eye, and use a fresh cotton ball for each eye. Snip away any long hairs that could be blocking her vision or poking her eyes. Try not to use eye washes or eye drops unless they’ve been prescribed by your vet. If you notice unnatural discharge during your grooming session, consult your vet.
Know Thy Eye Disorders
The following eye-related disorders are commonly seen in cats:
- Conjunctivitis: One or both of your cat’s eyes will look red and swollen, and there may be discharge.
- Third eyelid protrusion: If the third eyelid becomes visible or crosses your cat’s eye, he may have a wound or may be suffering from diarrhea, worms or a virus.
- Keratitis: If your cat’s cornea becomes inflamed, the eye will look cloudy and watery.
- Cataracts: This opacity on the eye is often seen in elderly and diabetic cats.
- Glaucoma: The cornea becomes cloudy and the eye enlarges due to an increased pressure in the eyeball.
- Bulging eye: Bulging can occur because of accident or trauma or an eye tumor.
- Retinal disease: Partial or total vision loss can happen when light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye degenerate.
- Watery eyes: The fur around your cat’s eyes may be stained with tears because of blocked tear ducts or an overproduction of tears.
Treating Eye Conditions
Many feline eye disorders can be treated with vet-prescribed drops or ointments—your vet will show you how to apply eye and ear drops at home.
Preventing Eye Problems
The best way to prevent eye conditions is to make sure your cat gets all her vaccinations and has thorough check-ups. Please examine her eyes regularly and consult a vet if you find any abnormalities. Eye conditions that are left untreated can lead to impaired sight or even blindness.