Cat Red Eye

Cat red eye is an infection of the eye conjunctiva tissue; the infection is also known as conjunctivitis. Cats do need healthy sight, so as to be able to perform their daily activities.

Causes of Red Eye

Red eye or conjunctivitis in cats may be caused by different environmental factors such as smoke, mold, dust, pollens and grasses, but may also be caused by chemicals, bacteria, fungi or viruses.

Cats infected with the herpes virus or with feline AIDS will display chronic conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of Red Eye

The most obvious symptom of the red eye condition is the redness of the eye or eyes.

The conjunctiva, which is the soft tissue around the eyes will be red and inflamed.

Depending on the severity of the condition, there may be a discharge coming from the eyes. The color of the discharge may range from transparent to yellow or even greenish. The consistency of the discharge may differ, but typically the yellow and greenish discharges will be thicker. The color and consistency of the discharge may help the vet establish the most suitable treatment.

In some cases, the third eyelid may be partially or fully covering the eye.

Red Eye Diagnosis

When visiting your vet, inform him about all the symptoms of your cat and when these started. Mention any abnormalities you may have seen or lifestyle changes.

If your cat has had other past health issues, those are also worth mentioning, as the red eye may be a condition caused by a previous or existing medical condition.

The vet will perform an ophthalmological consultation and he will take a look at your cat’s conjunctiva tissue, the iris, the retina and the eyelids. The vet may also need a culture of the eye discharge to detect possible bacteria and possibly a scraping of the eye conjunctiva.

Typically, a red eye may be diagnosed without further referral to an ophthalmologist.

Red Eye Treatment

The treatment typically depends on the causing condition. The vet must be informed about the type of discharge that comes from the eyes.

A transparent discharge is usually caused by allergies and inhalants, so the treatment will need to be directed towards healing the allergies or reducing your cat’s exposure to allergens. Some eye drops may also be prescribed.

If the discharge is yellowish or green and thicker, the infection may be viral, fungal or bacterial, so antibiotics will be administered along with eye drops and topical ointments. The eye drops and topical ointments may contain antibiotics, fungicides or steroids.

The most common cause of inflamed and red eyes in cats is conjunctivitis. Other causes of cat red eye include:

  • Keratitis, which is an inflammation of the cornea
  • Keratoconjunctivitis also known as dry eye
  • Uveitis, an infection of the uvea, the eye’s vascular layer
  • Glaucoma, or increased intraocular pressure
  • Eyelid tumors
  • Problems with the third eyelid

In case your pet has chronic red eye, you must consult your vet about an overall checkup to detect a possible underlying condition.

Red eye in cats may lead to loss of vision if left untreated.