When it comes to caring for our own eyesight, we all know the best ways to ensure our eyes remain clear, comfortable and irritation-free. However, when it comes to caring for our cats’ eyesight, it is much more difficult to know if they are feeling any pain or discomfort.
Taking pets to the vet can be expensive, so by following this simple guide to keep an eye on your cat’s eye health, you may be able to avoid the expense and keep your cat happy and healthy.
When you examine your cat’s eyes, do so in a brightly lit area and look closely. The eyes should be clear in colour without any cloudiness or dark patches. The area around the eyeball should be white and the pupils should be equal in size (remember they are likely to contract in bright light). For a closer inspection, gently roll down your cat’s eyelid to ensure that the lid’s lining is pink and free of discolouration. It should not be red, white or swollen.
- Look into your cat’s eyes regularly to identify any cloudiness or discolouration. If you do notice any cloudiness, it is important to schedule an appointment with the vet as this could be a sign of glaucoma, caused when fluid is unable to drain properly and pressure builds on the optic nerve.
- Also look out for discharge or weeping in the corners of the eyes. This can sometimes be easily resolved by gently wiping the eyes with a damp cotton wool pad. Be careful not the touch the eyeball itself to avoid scratching. If the problem persists, it may be due to blocked tear ducts or an infection so contact your vet who may be able to prescribe a course of anti-biotics or eye drops.
- Cataracts may be considered to be a condition affecting humans but it can also affect cats. To identify this, you will notice a cloudiness in the eye.
- Also look out for the colouring of your cat’s eyes. If one or both of the eyes look red and swollen, this may be a sign of conjunctivitis. Again, a vet should be able to prescribe eye drops or ointment to resolve this problem.
The best way to prevent eye problems is to ensure your cat has had all the advised vaccinations to protect them from disease and infection. Whilst they are proficient at cleaning themselves, there is no harm in occasionally assisting by wiping the eye area with a damp piece of cotton wool. Remember to use a fresh piece for each eye to avoid transferring bacteria.
Remember that ignoring any eye conditions could lead to impaired sight or blindness, so visit your vet as soon as you spot any abnormalities.
Victoria is a health writer for prescription glasses retailer, Direct Sight.