Eye diseases in cats: what are they?

The eyes of the cat can be the seat of various affections. Some are benign, others can lead to partial loss of vision, even the blindness. No matter how serious it is, any eye disease should be given special attention. No question of opting for self-medication! At the slightest suspicious symptom, it is important that the animal is presented to a veterinarian because it is necessary to identify the cause of the problem so that the kitty can benefit from a perfectly adapted treatment. Let’s take a look at the main eye diseases in cats and the possible symptoms.


This inflammation of the eye is quite common in cats that easily get infected. It can be of traumatic, bacterial, viral, parasitic or allergic origin. The eye swells, becomes red, the eyelids close due to the pain, there is dripping at the corners of the eye. Conjunctivitis presents with edema, and breathing problems can occur with bacterial or viral infection. The cat must be groomed.


This eye condition usually benign is characterized by increased tearing which causes browning of the hairs located on the periocular area. This is always wet, bacteria proliferate easily. The causes are various, such as obstruction of the tear duct, conjunctivitis, entropion, corneal ulcer … Note that short nosed cats are more prone to epiphora.


Glaucoma is caused by an increase in intraocular pressure or IOP because the aqueous humor no longer evacuates. The cat must be taken care of immediately by a veterinarian because if left untreated, glaucoma can lead to destruction of the retina and blindness. The main symptoms of glaucoma in cats are local pain, reddening of the eye, dilation of the pupil.

Corneal ulcer

We designate by this term a open sore of the cornea. It is a serious problem which justifies an urgent consultation. A corneal ulcer can be traumatic or the result of an eye infection caused by feline herpesvirus (FHV). Possible symptoms are discharge from the eyes, redness of the eyes, puckering of the eyelids due to pain, a bluish-white coloration of the cornea which becomes cloudy. Sneezing with nasal discharge is also seen if the corneal ulcer is of infectious origin.


This severe eye disease is due to ocular hypertension and can make the cat blind, whether ocular glaucoma is congenital, primary or secondary. The aqueous secretion is no longer expelled because the drainage channels are blocked. This results in pressure on the optic nerve.

The cat presents symptoms that should alert its owner such as an increase in the size of the eyeball, redness of the eye and tearing, signs of pain, heightened sensitivity to light, clouding of the cornea. He moves more difficult than before because of the loss of his visual acuity. Glaucoma warrants an emergency consultation.

Anterior uveitis

It’s about a severe inflammation which affects the uvea, which includes the iris as well as the vessels and muscles, i.e. the ciliary body. Uveitis is said to be lateral when it affects only one eye and bilateral when it affects both eyes. This eye disease can be identified by the following symptoms: loss of transparency of the cornea, appearance of blood vessels in the iris, conjunctivitis, severe eye pain, pupil contraction (miosis). A cat exhibiting this type of symptom should immediately be taken to the veterinarian.

Entropion and ectroption

These terms refer to abnormalities in an eyelid.

In case of’entropion, the eyelid curls inwards or inversion, which causes painful irritation due to the friction of the hairs and / or eyelashes on different parts of the eye such as the conjunctiva or the cornea.

THE’ectropion is manifested on the contrary by the curling of an eyelid outwards or eversion. The eye is increasingly irritated, there is a serous discharge and superinfection is to be feared.

In either case, the veterinarian should be consulted, who usually treats the problem surgically.

Nictitating gland prolapse

This anomaly affects the third eyelid, a translucent protective membrane of the eye. This eyelid is provided with glands, one of which participates in the moistening of the eye thanks to the tear film that it diffuses. In the event of rupture of the ligament which holds the gland of the membrane in place, this famous third eyelid remains visible, forming a small pink mass at the inner corner of the eye due to its procidence (descent). Obviously, a consultation with the veterinarian is essential.

Symptoms are dry eye since tears stop being produced, conjunctivitis, possible discharge of pus, but it is rare for the prolapse of the nictitating gland to cause pain.


It is an eye disease which is sometimes hereditary but which can also be the consequence of uveitis. Due to the loss of transparency of the lens, which becomes cloudy, less and less light rays reach the retina. The cat’s visual acuity gradually decreases and the animal may loss of eyesight in case of total clouding of the lens. We can suspect the disease when the cat bumps into itself everywhere during its movements, especially in places with little light.

Retinal detachment

It is an eye problem extremely serious which can affect any cat regardless of age, sex or breed. Retinal detachment is a cause of blindness. It’s a absolute emergency. It is therefore necessary to react quickly if the cat has dilated pupils in bright light, if it bumps into furniture or walls, moves with difficulty, if it lacks precision when trying to catch a moving object. or if he seems to be in pain.