Common Eye Problems for Cats

Updated November 21, 2016

Monitoring your cat's eye health is imperative to keeping your cat's vision healthy. Feline eye problems can mean serious health problems. This means as a responsible cat owner, you need to keep an eye out for common eye problems that may affect your cat.

Feline Conjunctivitis

Feline conjunctivitis, or pink eye, occurs when the mucous membranes of the eye become inflamed as the result of a bacterial or viral infection. The eye may produce clear or cloudy discharge and become red. Conjunctivitis is most often treated with a combination of oral and eye drop antibiotics, keeping the eye clean and applying compresses to the eye.

Feline Glaucoma

Feline glaucoma occurs when there is a build-up of fluid pressure inside the eyeball. Glaucoma is usually the result of an injury, infection, cataracts or tumours. Glaucoma is painful as the eye becomes larger and harder as the condition progresses. Left untreated, glaucoma can result in vision loss. Treatments include hospitalisation, surgery and, in severe cases, removal of the eye.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or more simply called dry eye, is an infection that results in inadequate tear production in the feline eye. The eye becomes excessively dry, and corneal damage or ulcers may develop. The disease may require long-term maintenance and the treatment options include artificial tears, tear stimulants and oral anti-inflammatory medication.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Excess tears are supposed to drain into your cat's tear ducts, but if the ducts become blocked, the tears run down your cat's cheeks instead. If the only symptoms your cat exhibits are runny eyes with clear discharge, that is an indication of blocked tear ducts. Blocked tear ducts may be the result of injury, genetics, infections, tumours and even dirt or dusty cat litter.


This condition gives your cat's eye a milky appearance. Cataracts are often caused by old age in cats, but may also occur due to injury, infection or diseases such as diabetes. Surgery is the most common treatment option for cataracts, however, the cat must be kept indoors afterwards. Vision may also be diminished following treatment.

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