Cat Eye Disorders Explained

Cat eye disorders are usually easy to recognize. Often, they cause symptoms including inflammation and discharge. Some cat eye problems may be symptomatic of more serious diseases such as FIV, FeLV or FIP. Here are some common cat eye diseases explained.


In healthy cats, liquid is constantly and slowly exchanged from inside the eye to general circulation. When the cat's eye produces fluid faster than it can be removed, glaucoma occurs. This causes a build up of pressure within your cat's eye. Symptoms of glaucoma in cats include:

  • Squinting
  • Excessive tearing
  • Avoidance of light
  • Swelling of the eye

Your cat's eye or eyes may need to be surgically removed as a result of feline glaucoma.


Cataracts in cats occur when part or all of the lens loses its transparency. A full cataract can render the lens of your cat's eye completely white, with a yellow tint. Cataracts can occur as the result of physical injury, old age, or diabetes. They can be surgically removed in the event that they cause blindness.

Corneal Injuries

Ulcerative keratitis, or corneal injuries, can occur when your cat suffers an eye infection or an injury to the eye, such as during a fight. Swelling occurs, giving the cornea a cloudy appearance. Lacerations can become corneal ulcers. Viral damage can lead to sticky conjunctivitis, in which the eyelids become glued together.

Surgery and antibiotics may be necessary to save the eye.


Entropion, or Eyelid Rolled Inward, sometimes occurs as a hereditary defect in the Persian breed. It can occur in other breeds following a bad case of conjuncitivitis, or an injury to the eyelid. The rolled in lid causes irritation of the eye, symptoms of which include tearing and squinting. Surgery can correct this condition.

Stenosis of Nasolacrimal Ducts

Stenosis, or blockage, of the nasolacrimal or tear ducts may cause excessive tearing. Some cats are born with this condition, but it can develop as a result of scars acquired during cat fights. Chronic infection of the tear ducts, or blockage due to secretions, dirt, or foreign objects such as small seeds can also lead to stenosis of the tear ducts.

Your vet may use a nasolicrimal probe to clear the tear ducts. Antibiotics may be necessary to resolve infections of the tear ducts.

Retinal Disorders

Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited condition in cats. This rare disease causes deterioration of the retinas of your cat's eye. Trauma or disease may cause a detached retina. Laser surgery can correct detached retinas.

Dislodged Lenses

Partial or complete changes in the position of the lens of your cat's eye may be the result of trauma, such as that sustained in cat fights and road accidents. Inflammation of the eye, glaucoma, or even old age can cause changed in the position of the lens of your cat's eye. Surgery can usually correct dislodged lenses in cats.


Causes of total blindness in cats can include diabetes, high blood pressure, or eye injuries. Cats respond to and cope with blindness differently, depending on their personalities. While most cases of blindness can't be resolved, you and your vet can work together to make life comfortable for your blind cat.