Cat Vision Problems

Healthy cat vision includes several unique characteristics like relative size of the eyes, pupil shape and the ability to see well in the dark. A third eyelid is also present, which helps to lubricate the eye. Often, signs of cat vision problems can be observed by looking at the eyes. If a cat is experiencing symptoms of infection or disease, the third eyelid may partially close making it easily visible. Additionally, problems can be suspected if the pupils change in size, or if excessive tears run down the face staining the fur.

Symptoms of Cat Vision Problems

There are many different types of symptoms and conditions that can affect a cat's vision. Bacterial or viral infections, eye disorders, systemic or neurological disorders, or head traumas can significantly impair vision or lead to permanent blindness. Protrusion of the third eyelid, or excessive weeping or squinting could be obvious signs of possible vision impairment. Other signs to watch for would include fearful behavior, such as the cat becoming skittish, clumsiness or bumping into objects, inability to find food or water, loss of normal play or hunting behavior, or unusually inattentive behavior like excessive sleeping.

Diagnosis of Cat Vision Problems

Due to the vast array of circumstances that can lead to loss of vision in cats, any number of tests and procedures may be administered to determine the diagnosis. A complete physical examination can reveal any effects of trauma, or other less obvious symptoms. A complete examination of the eye, both externally and internally, can reveal problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal degeneration. Blood tests can reveal infections or viruses like feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia. Other tests may be performed to reveal possible neurological disorders or internal conditions.

Sudden Blindness Affects Behavior

While cats who are born blind, or lose their vision gradually, can adapt easily to lifestyle changes, sudden onset of blindness can create stress, leading to other or more severe symptoms. Cats may become fearful, skittish or confused. There are many things you can do to make life easier for your befuddled cat.

Elizabethan Collar

An Elizabethan collar, often termed as a 'cone,' will help alleviate your cat from excessively scratching or rubbing its eyes. If the condition causing vision problems is inflammatory or painful, using a cone will be very beneficial.

Minimize Changes

A cat with loss of vision may not be able to tolerate changes to his environment. Do not change locations of food, water or bedding. Establish known locations for favorite toys, scratching posts, or food and help guide your cat to them if necessary.

Create a Safe Area

Much like child-proofing a home, safety-proofing for a cat with vision loss is of utmost importance. Create barriers near stairways, balconies and pools. Create a safe and comfortable room or crate, if temporary confinement is necessary, or until diagnosis and treatment are determined. Do not allow a cat with vision problems to go outside. A cat's eyes are crucial in helping him maneuver the outside world. Loss of vision will significantly hinder a cat's ability to protect himself from danger.