Entropion is a condition seen in many cats where their eyelids roll inwards causing irritation, pain, and other secondary eye problems. Today, our South Florida vets share more about this common eye condition in cats including symptoms and how entropion is treated.
What is entropion in cats?
Entropion in cats is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the fur and lashes to rub against the cornea. This can lead to irritation, discomfort, and potential damage to the eye if left untreated.
Entropion can occur in either the upper or lower eyelids, but it is most common in the lower eyelids in cats. Entropion is most common in young cats under a year old and elderly cats over the age of ten, but it has the potential to affect cats of any age.
While any cat breed can potentially develop entropion, certain breeds are more prone to the condition. Breeds such as Persians, Burmese, and Himalayans are known to have a higher susceptibility to entropion due to their facial structure and prominent eyes.
What are some signs of entropion?
The following are some of the most common symptoms of entropion in cats:
- Discharge from the eye
- Rubbing the eye
- Raised third eyelid
- Red eye
- Cloudiness or other visible appearance change in the corneal area of the eye
What causes entropion in cats?
There are a few reasons cats can develop entropion. They are:
Entropion in young cats is primarily caused by chronic squinting from eye infections. This is known as spastic entropion. These infections, caused by viruses and bacteria, cause painful conditions like conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers. The intense squinting causes the eyelid edge to flip inward, leading to entropion. The rubbing fur worsens the eye pain, causing further squinting and damage.
Age-Related Eye Sinkage
Entropion in elderly cats occurs due to the eye sinking deeper into the socket because of fat and muscle loss behind the eye. This sinking causes the eyelid edges to sink too, leading to sunken eyelids flipping inward. Eyelid fur irritation causes more squinting, worsening entropion over time.
Cats that are brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses and bulgy, can develop entropion related to this facial conformation. The short nose and bulgy eyes cause crowding below the eye, pushing the inner, lower eyelids towards the eyes leading to inversion of the eyelid margin and entropion.
Entropion can also be a developmental condition seen in young, un-neutered male cats of the larger cat breeds, such as Maine Coons. These cats tend to have very large jowls, or cheek tissue, and this can cause the lower eyelids to be pushed upwards towards the eyes, leading to entropion.
How can entropion in cats be treated?
Entropion is often treated with eyelid surgery. This procedure involves removing a wedge of fur and skin below the eyelid margin, which is then stitched closed with delicate sutures. The surgery has a high success rate, but may be delayed for young, larger breed, male cats as they may grow out of it.
Another option is eyelid filler injections. Veterinary ophthalmologists can use hyaluronic acid eyelid filler injections to treat eyelid entropion in elderly cats, which is less expensive and risky than traditional surgical correction. However, the outcome is harder to predict and control compared to traditional methods.
Finally, we have antibiotics. Antibiotic eye medications to prevent bacterial infections, particularly corneal ulcers. Pain medications may be also prescribed even without surgery. Vets may use numbing eye drops during eye exams, but they cannot be used as an ongoing pain treatment.
When should I take my cat to the vet for entropion?
You should take your cat to the vet for entropion if you notice any signs of discomfort or irritation in their eyes. Additionally, if you observe excessive tearing or squinting, it is recommended to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
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.