Diagnosing Feline Eye Problems

The feline eye should be bright and clear. Eyes that are not may be affected by an infection or other condition. When a cat has an eye problem, a veterinarian will use different means to diagnose the condition.

Feline Eye Problems and Symptoms

It is usually easy to tell when a cat has a problem with his eyes as it may appear red, inflamed, and cause the cat to squint a lot. When a cat has an eye problem, he may produce a lot of tears or even have a discharge that is thick and yellowish in color. Other indications of a problem in the eye can be a cloudy look to the eye or the appearance that particles are stuck to the eye or the corners of it. Sometimes the outside part of the eye may appear dull or one may notice a “third eyelid moving across the eye.

Common eye problems that occur in cats include watery eyes, uveitis, conjunctivitis (pink eye), glaucoma and cataracts.

Diagnosing Feline Eye Problems

There are several tests a veterinarian can use to diagnose eye problems in cats in addition to the use of an ophthalmoscope, the tool used to see the inside of a cat’s eye. One such test is a fluorescein stain, which can find foreign objects, ulcers, or other damages to the cornea. It can also detect some eye infections and dry eye. Fluorescein is an orange dye that is placed on a cat’s eye. The eye is then looked at under a blue light. Any problems in the eye will look green in color under the light. A veterinarian can then determine the cause of the eye problem based on the location, size, and shape of the stain.

The Schirmer’s test will be done if a veterinarian needs to see if a cat is producing enough tears. The test is done by putting a test strip under the cat’s lower eyelid and is left there for a short period of time. When the test strip is removed the level of moisture in a cat’s eye will be indicated on the paper as the tears will cause the strip to change color.

To test for glaucoma, ocular pressure will be measured by using a tonometer. There are two ways to test the pressure in a cat’s eye: the first is to place a special tonometer on a cat’s eye to see how much the cornea indents, and the other is to have a tonometer shoot a quick burst of air against the cornea to see how much the cornea indents. This test causes no pain to a cat and only takes a few minutes. If the presence of glaucoma is found, a gonioscopy will be performed to determine the type of glaucoma a cat has.

Veterinary ophthalmologists have access to many tools to help diagnose eye problems in cats. However, one should not forget to include the cat’s regular vet in the discussion of the feline’s eye health in case problems are due to an underlying condition.