Common feline eye problems

Maintaining the eye health of your feline friend is very important, especially because the vision of a cat is unlike anything else in the animal world. Very few animals can match a cat’s unique ability to locate and follow moving targets, whether it be a toy or prey. This makes your cat’s eyes one of their most important physical attributes, so it’s important to keep tabs on the eye health of your furry friend.

Most cats develop an eye infection when they have been exposed to viruses, fungi, bacteria, and in some cases, parasites. When a cat has an eye infection, the most common signs will be squinting, redness, swelling, and discharge.

Overall, a cat’s eyes are made up of the same components as humans. Some of the major structural and functional components include:

  • The cornea – the transparent outer covering of the eyeball
  • The iris – a round, pigmented membrane that surrounds the pupil. It can contract or expand to regulate the amount of incoming light.
  • The pupil – a circular membrane in the center of the eye. The pupil permits the entry of light from the environment you’re in.
  • The retina – a sensitive membrane that lines the interior surface of the eyeball.

Now that you’re up-to-date on eyeball jargon, let’s take a look at some common feline eye problems that all cat owners should be aware of.


When the pink membrane of a cat’s eye, also known as the conjunctiva, becomes swollen or inflamed, this is known as conjunctivitis. Most cats that suffer from this common eye issue tend to squint or blink persistently, so if you see your cat squinting like they’re nearsighted it may be time to call your local animal eye doctor. Eye discharge is a clear sign of conjunctivitis as well. More often than not, the most common cause of conjunctivitis in cats is the herpes virus, however other viral and bacterial infections can also increase your cat’s risk.

Treating conjunctivitis in cats is often performed on an outpatient basis, and type of treatment will depend on the severity of the case and what is causing the disease. Your veterinarian may treat your cat’s conjunctivitis with topical antibiotics in the form of drops or ointment.

If you’re concerned that your cat may have conjunctivitis, contact the Top Rated Local® Veterinary Ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Associates, P.A. in Maitland or Orlando. We offer eye exams, surgery, and diagnostic testing at our facility, and our veterinarians will do everything they can to make sure your pet has a comfortable visit.

Ulcerative Keratitis

Also known as corneal ulcers, ulcerative keratitis is an open sore wound that can be found on a cat’s cornea. As we touched on above, the cornea is the clear layer of the eye through which light enters. This is most common in outdoor kitties, since they are exposed to ocular hazards. When a cat has a corneal ulcer, their eye may appear to be cloudy. Other symptoms may include redness around the eye, discharge, squinting, and eye pain.


You’ve probably heard of humans getting glaucoma, but did you know this is also a serious eye condition found in cats? Often caused by infection, trauma, or an inflammatory disorder, symptoms of glaucoma may include cloudiness of the eye, redness, pain, and discharge. In extreme glaucoma cases, you can physically see that the infected eye is larger than the healthy eye. If glaucoma isn’t treated right away, it may lead to devastating effects for your cat. In the worst case scenario, your cat could completely lose their vision in the infected eye.

Most mild corneal ulcers will heal once the underlying issue is treated. Your veterinary specialist may prescribe antibiotic ointment or drops as well to help relieve any pain your cat may be feeling. If an ulcer has developed deep into the eye, it may require surgery.


If you’ve noticed that one of your cat’s eyes has started to protrude or bulge, they may be suffering from exophthalmos. In most cases, this condition is caused by a mass growing behind the eyeball. Symptoms of exophthalmos include a fever, lethargy, pus around the eye, corneal inflammation, and even an inability to close the eye.


Unlike exophthalmos, which causes a cat’s eye to protrude, enophthalmos is a disease that can cause the eyeball to recede back into the skull. It is often caused by a mass growing in front of the eyeball, and cat breeds with long, narrow heads are most at risk for this eye issue.

Animal Eye Associates: Cat Eye Doctors in Florida

If you live in Florida and you’re concerned that your cat may be suffering from an eye problem, contact the veterinary ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Associates, P.A. today. We understand that your pet’s vision and ocular comfort are incredibly important, and our vets are ready to give your pet the eye care they deserve. Schedule an appointment today!