Cats & eye problems

Updated February 18, 2017

Cats are independent by nature, and most are content to explore and play. Whether you cat is chasing a string or hiding in a bush, vision plays an important role in the cat's quality of life. Monitoring a cat's vision and eye health may seem like a difficult task, but knowing about common eye problems may help.


Eye infections are a common eye problem for cats. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, occurs most often. Signs of pink eye include the white of the eye turning red and the inside lining of the eyelid becoming inflamed. The eye may weep or have matter in the corners, and one or both eyes may be affected. Pink eye is not usually a threat to vision and can be easily treated with eye drops. Cats can also catch other types of eye infections. Some of these, such as uveitis, can be a threat to vision if left untreated.


Cats' eye injuries mainly result from fighting and scratches from twigs or other materials. Minor injury may be noted if there is redness or excessive watering of the eye. More serious injuries may result in cloudiness over the surface of the eye. Eye injuries have the potential to cause blindness, depending on the severity and location of the injury, so contact a veterinarian immediately.

Other Conditions

Cataracts occur when the clear lens of the eye turns cloudy and impairs vision. This is a threat to a cat's vision, though it is correctable with surgery. Glaucoma, an increased pressure in the cat's eye, may be the result of poor fluid drainage inside the eye or as a result of injury or other illness. Glaucoma is typically treated by surgically repairing the drainage system in the eye.


Eye problems treated promptly usually cause little or no long-term damage to a cat's eye. If there's any suspicion of an eye condition, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will examine the cat's eyes with a special scope that allows him to look at the front and back of the eye. He may draw blood to determine any underlying cause for the problem.


Preventing infections and injuries may be impossible, but making sure a cat has a healthy diet and plenty of water, along with plenty of exercise, may make the difference. Also be sure to keep up on the cat's vaccines since some feline diseases, such as feline leukaemia, may cause eye problems.

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About the Author

Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.