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Cats and Eye Inflammation


cats_and_eye_inflammationEye inflammation is one of the most common health problems suffered by cats. There are a number of signs and symptoms that can suggest a problem with the eye and two main diseases that are most common. It is important that cat owners are aware that if their cat appears to have a painful eye they need immediate veterinary care.


Signs and Symptoms of Eye Inflammation


Eye discharge is one of the most easily noticed and helps to identify what may be wrong. The color of the discharge, as well as the consistency, will tell you vet if your cat has conjunctivitis or something more serious. There are a number of diseases including upper respiratory tract infection, corneal disease, and blocked tear ducts that can cause discharge. If the eye is also painful, there will be squinting, watering of the eye, and your cat will paw at the eye as though trying to rub it.


Your cat may also experience cloudiness, as though the eye is blind or cause a film to appear over the eye because the dictating membrane is protruding. Owners should seek immediate veterinary care if these symptoms are present. The dilation of the pupil can indicate a change in eye pressure; a hard eye and a dilated pupil often indicats glaucoma, while a soft eye and a small pupil indicates inner eye inflammation.


Bulging or sunken eyes can suggest anything from glaucoma, tumors or dehydration. Cats can also suffer from abnormal eye movements, such as jerkiness and color change caused by melanoma or jaundice.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from one of these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary care. There may be something serious going on and your cat needs treatment immediately.




Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye related problems in cats. It almost always has an underlying cause and is characterized by an inflammation of the membranes covering the back of the eyelids and surface of the eyeball up to the cornea. The most common underlying diseases related are herpesvirus and chlamydophila. Symptoms include red eye, discharge and pawing at the eye as though it is itchy. Untreated, it may progress and cause a loss of vision.


Serous conjunctivitis is a mild form of conjunctivitis in which the membrane appears pink and slightly swollen. It is accompanied by clear and watery discharge that is caused by things such as wind or allergens. It may be the first sign of a more serious problem such as a respiratory infection or chlamydophila. Treatment includes cleaning the eye with artificial tears or sterile ophthalmic solution, both of which can be purchased over the counter and used as directed. If the condition does not improve in 24 hours you should seek veterinary assistance.




Uveiti is one of the most common inner eye problems of cats. It is an inflammation of the inner pigment structures of the eye and is related to a number of other infectious diseases such as feline leukemia, FIP, FIV, roundworms and heartworms. It can also be caused by injuries, blood-borne bacteria, and tumors. It is a serious condition that can lead to blindness. If you suspect your cat has uveitis, seek veterinary help immediately.


Uveitis is a painful condition that comes with squinting and watery eyes. The surface of the eye is red and the pupil is small. If you push against the eyelid, the eye is tender and feels soft. Some cats show clouding and there may be new blood vessels growing across the cornea of the eye. Blood or pus may leak to the front of the eye and glaucoma may develop as a result of inner eye scar tissue damage. Blood tests may be done to look for the underlying cause of this condition.


Treatment involves first treating the underlying condition and then helping to relieve the inflammation through the careful use of corticosteroids. Eye drops may be used to dilate the pupil and relieve pain.


If allowed to go untreated, chronic uveitis can develop into intraocular cancer.



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