Cats can be affected by a variety of eye diseases, some of which are common, while others are relatively rare. It's important to note that if you suspect your cat has an eye problem, you should seek veterinary care promptly, as many eye conditions can worsen if left untreated. Here are some common eye diseases that can affect cats:
- Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the eyelids. It can be caused by various factors, including infections, allergies, irritants, or underlying health issues.
- Corneal Ulcers: Corneal ulcers are painful sores or erosions on the clear, front surface of the eye (cornea). They can result from trauma, foreign objects, infections, or underlying conditions.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a condition where there is increased pressure within the eye, leading to damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. It can be primary (genetic) or secondary (caused by another eye problem).
- Cataracts: Cataracts are the clouding of the eye's lens, which can result in impaired vision or blindness. They can develop due to aging, genetics, or secondary to other eye conditions or diseases.
- Retinal Diseases: Diseases affecting the retina, such as retinal detachment or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), can lead to vision loss. PRA is a hereditary condition that can cause blindness in certain breeds.
- Uveitis: Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, which includes the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. It can be caused by infections, trauma, autoimmune disorders, or as a secondary condition to other diseases.
- Cherry Eye: Cherry eye is a condition where the gland of the third eyelid prolapses, causing a red, fleshy mass to protrude from the corner of the eye. It is typically seen in young cats and may require surgical correction.
- Entropion and Ectropion: Entropion is when the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to irritate the eye. Ectropion is the opposite, where the eyelid rolls outward. Both conditions can lead to eye discomfort and require surgical correction.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is a type of skin cancer that can affect the eyelids or the surface of the eye. It is more common in cats with white or lightly pigmented eyelids.
- Trauma: Eye injuries, such as scratches, foreign bodies, or blunt force trauma, can lead to various eye problems, including corneal ulcers, hyphema (bleeding within the eye), and more.
Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian are important to detect and treat eye diseases in cats early. If you notice any signs of eye problems in your cat, such as redness, discharge, squinting, cloudiness, or changes in behavior, consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.