Eye draining problems, known as tear duct overflow, can occur in any breed of cat. However, Persian cats are more susceptible to tear duct overflow because of the physical characteristics of the breed.
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Tear Duct Overflow
Persian cats have flat faces and a kinked drainage duct in the nose, which contributes to a failure of the tears to drain off the face. The shape of the eyeballs of the breed also prevents effective tear draining. Chronic tear overflow causes tear staining on the fur below the eyes.
Overproduction of Tears
An overproduction of tears can be caused by allergies; eye infections; and obstructions, irritants or foreign matter in the eye. An obstruction may be caused by a shallow tear lake at the inner corner of the eye, small tear duct openings, a kinked draining duct in the nose and tears not draining but, rather, wicking onto hairs in the crease where the eyelids meet.
Symptoms include a watery discharge from the eyes and tear staining below the eyes. The skin below the eye may be irritated. There may be an accumulation of watery dried discharge on the edges of the eyelids or at the inner corner of the eye
Prevention and Treatment
Tear stains can be prevented by wiping the cat's eyes, nose and face with a warm, damp cloth. Eye draining problems can indicate tear duct overflow or can be symptomatic of more serious conditions, including Chlamydia, which can lead to an inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and may result in impaired vision. Cats having eye problems should be taken to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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