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    Recognizing Eye Irritation in Your Cat

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    A cat’s eyes are extremely recognizable—the round shapes, the brightly-colored irises and the narrow, slit-like pupils help distinguish cats from other animals. As pet owners, we know that our cat’s eyes are supposed to be clear and bright. This is why it’s so easy to tell when cats are experiencing eye problems.

    Eye irritation is a very common problem in cats, with an infection, allergies or scratch typically occurring at least once in a cat’s life. There are a variety of underlying causes for feline eye irritation, ranging from dryness to trauma, but most eye problems display the same kinds of symptoms.

    If you notice that your cat’s eyes are red or pink, appear swollen or inflamed and are leaking watery or mucoid discharge, there’s something in them causing irritation. Your cat may also be squinting or blinking a lot and pawing at its eye because it is painful or itchy.

    Here is a closer look at the different types of eye irritation in cats and how to differentiate between them.

    1. Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is one of the most common ailments in cats. The condition involves inflammation of the eye membranes. If your cat has conjunctivitis, the affected eye will be pink or red, look swollen and have watery or mucoid discharge in a green or yellow color.

      Usually, conjunctivitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Feline Herpesvirus-1, Feline Chlamydia and Feline Mycoplasma are three of the biggest offenders when it comes to this condition. In cases of Feline Herpesvirus-1, your cat may have repeated infections over time because there is no cure for the virus.

    1. Foreign object: Another common cause for eye irritation in cats is a foreign object getting stuck in the eye. The object might be something from outside, such as a piece of grass or dirt, or even a piece of hair or an eyelash from your cat. Sometimes, fuzz can even cause irritation.

      Foreign objects can scratch the surface of the eye, causing redness and tearing. Your cat’s bodily response will produce more tears to try and flush the object out, but if it’s too large or sticky, it may not come out on its own.

    1. Scratch or trauma: A scratched cornea can also lead to inflammation, redness and tearing. If your cat somehow scratches its eye on a branch or is clawed at by another animal, the abrasion will usually heal on its own. However, this will depend on how deep the scratch is. Shallow scratches typically heal within three to five days, while deeper scratches may take longer or need surgical repair and are at risk of developing ulcers (a condition called corneal ulceration).

      Corneal abrasions may also cause light sensitivity and squinting, as well as clouding in the cornea (the clear surface of the eye).

    1. Allergies: Allergies are another cause of eye irritation in cats. Your feline friend may be allergic to any number of things, including seasonal pollens or grasses, dust, chemicals, smoke or certain foods.

      Allergic reactions will usually cause red, watery eyes that may also be itchy to your cat, causing it to paw at them repeatedly. Other signs of an allergic reaction may accompany the eye irritation, such as body rashes and sneezing.

    1. Glaucoma: Glaucoma is caused by increased eye pressure due to a fluid blockage. A water-like fluid called aqueous humor is continuously produced and drained within the eye. When the drainage is interrupted or blocked, the fluid can build up, putting pressure on the eye and causing significant pain.

      Eyes with glaucoma problems won’t usually have redness but will appear swollen and have watery discharge. This condition requires fast action because cats may lose their vision if glaucoma is not treated.

    1. Dryness: Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis, occurs when tear production slows or is deficient in your cat’s eyes. The result is the excessive drying of the cornea, causing swollen blood vessels, discharge and excessive blinking. Eye drops may be all your cat needs to keep its eyes lubricated.

    Unfortunately, because these symptoms can be attributed to a number of conditions, it’s not always easy to diagnose the true cause of eye irritation in cats. You’ll want to take your feline friend to the vet to have it examined and get a prescribed course of treatment.

    Most eye irritation problems can be healed with medicated eye drops, but you should only use these when they are prescribed by a vet. For other problems, time will just be necessary to heal wounds. In a few weeks, your cat should be seeing clearly once again.建築設計 �??�?�屋пер�?онал �?ерви�?

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    Dr. Janice Huntingford

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