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Eye Injuries in Cats: When to Seek Veterinary Care

Cats can acquire both serious and non-serious eye injuries. In this post, our South Florida vets will explain when to administer at-home first aid and when to seek a specialist's care for your cat's eye injury.

How Do Cat Eye Injuries Happen?

Eye injuries in cats can mild or non-serious to severe trauma that will need immediate medical attention. The nature of these injuries may be due to scratches, foreign bodies in the eye, contact corneal trauma or chemical exposure. 

As soon as you see that your cat is showing any symptoms, we strongly recommend visiting your veterinarian at Animal Eye Guys who can determine the cause and severity of your cat's injury, and treat it (though you may be able to perform first aid on the way to your veterinarian). 

Since a number of eye conditions can lead to permanent scarring or even blindness if not treated correctly, it's critical to make an appointment with your vet or see one of our board-certified specialists in South Florida. 

Types of Eye Injuries Seen in Cats

Eye injuries can occur at any time and can range from mild to extremely severe. There are a number of types of eye injuries that your cat could experience including:

  • Eyelid trauma 
  • Proptosis (eye pops out of its socket)
  • A puncture wound resulting from a foreign object
  • A corneal ulcer can result from chemicals, debris or rubbing 
  • A corneal laceration (a cut or scratch on the surface of the eye)

Common Causes of Eye Injuries

There are several ways that your cat can sustain an eye injury. Some of the most common incidents include:

  • Dangerous projectiles such as fireworks
  • Riding in a car with head out the car window
  • Abnormal growth of eyelashes
  • Running in the woods or digging in brush 
  • Altercations with other animals
  • Scratching or pawing at the eye 

Common Symptoms of Eye Injuries

Needless to say, if your cat is experiencing an eye injury it will be both painful and irritating. If your pup has any of the following symptoms, it is important you see your vet as soon as possible in order to prevent the injury from becoming more severe, or infected.

  • General Discomfort
  • Twitching or spasming of the eyelid
  • Squinting
  • Rapid Blinking
  • Inability to Open Eye
  • Tearing Eyes
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Pawing at Eye / Face
  • Cloudiness or Discharge
  • Inability to close eye properly

When to Give First Aid

While you should take your cat to the vet right away if she experiences an eye injury, you may be able to perform first aid until you reach the animal hospital. 

Foreign Object in Cat's Eye

If you can see an object in your kitty's eye, wrap your cat in a towel and wash the eye out with saline ( do not use a contact lens cleaning solution, which contains other chemicals). Do not flush the eye if the eyeball appears to be perforated.

Prolapse of Eyeball 

While it's more common for dogs to have this eye injury, it's possible for a cat's eye to pop from its socket. The injury typically results from trauma such as being hit by a car or being attacked by a dog. 

If there is a foreign object in your cat's eye or if the eye has prolapsed from its socket, tape a paper cup over the eye to protect it while you travel. Your veterinarian can check for damage and further debris under the eyelids. 

Other Eye Conditions

Does your cat's eye appear irritated, red or swollen? Perhaps she's pawing at it? Book a visit with your vet as soon as possible. If you have an Elizabethan collar, put it on your kitty so your cat can't scratch at her eye in the meantime. 

Diagnosis & Treatment

You can help your vet determine the diagnosis by providing specific information including when your cat's symptoms began, if they seem better or worse, and any details about the situation that caused the injury (for example, in the case of a cat eye injury from a fight).

If your vet can’t immediately see a foreign object in your pet's eye, they’ll conduct a thorough ocular exam to determine if there’s a deeper injury, irritation or bruising as a result of trauma, or your vet may refer you to a veterinary ophthamologist for more advanced diagnostic testing and treatment.

Treatment for your kitty's eye injury will depend on the type of injury as well as the severity and whether the injury is infected. A simple injury may be treated with an e-collar (to prevent your dog from rubbing the injured eye) and prescription antibiotics or drops, whereas more complicated injuries may require surgery to repair your dog's eye and preserve your pet's eyesight.

Veterinary Eye Specialists

At Animal Eye Guys, our board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists offer eye care services to diagnose and treat your pup's eye conditions.  Our veterinary specialists can diagnose and treat virtually all eye diseases and conditions, including: cataracts, injuries, drainage issues, infections, vision loss, tumors, glaucoma, dry eye, and eyelid problems.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat has sustained an eye injury, contact us. Our team of specialist vets at Animal Eye Guys can provide advanced diagnostics and treatments to help your cat's eyes feel better. 

New Patients Welcome

Animal Eye Guys is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Florida pets. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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