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Signs of eye problems in cats

Earlier this week, we shared a blog post on the signs of eye problems in dogs, as we look to support TVM’s annual Pet Eye Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th September 2023). Continuing our series, next up we’re looking at signs of eye problems in cats, highlighting common symptoms and conditions to be aware of.

Common symptoms of eye problems in cats

  • Blinking excessively
  • Redness or swelling
  • Weeping or discharge
  • Cloudiness
  • Blood in the eye
  • A change in the size or shape of the pupil
  • Bulging eye or sunken eyes
  • Keeping one or both eyes closed, or half-closed
  • A lump in or around the eye
  • Third eyelid (also known as haw) showing
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Behavioural changes: withdrawn or aggressive behaviour, linked to eye pain
  • Loss of vision

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, contact your local vet for an appointment.

Common eye conditions

Eye infections or conjunctivitis

Eye infections are one of the most common eye conditions in cats, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses. If your cat suffers from frequent eye infections, they might have an underlying condition, such as cat flu.

Eye ulcers

Eye ulcers are a wound on the surface of the eye (the cornea). If left untreated, ulcers can lead to loss of an eye.

Eyelid problems

Conditions such as entropion, where the eyelids can turn inwards and rub the eyeball, are quite common and can cause infections, pain and inflammation.


Cataracts, the clouding of the lens, is much less common in cats than in dogs, but does sometimes occur. Cataracts in cats are usually caused by another condition such as an injury – or glaucoma, uveitis or lens luxation (all of which we will come onto shortly).

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is where the thin layer of cells (the retina), separates from the back of the eye, causing loss of vision. Retinal detachment is often due to high blood pressure and is common in cats with hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.


Uveitis is when the coloured part of the eye (the iris) and the area around it can get all inflamed. If you suspect this with your cat, it is best to get it checked out and treated as soon as possible.

Masses and tumours

Growths can occur in, around and behind the eye. It’s important to get any new lumps checked by your vet immediately, so your pet can receive vital, and often life-saving, treatment.

Lens luxation

Lens luxation is when the lens comes out of position, often because of another underlying condition, which can cause your pet discomfort. If not treated it can lead to the loss of vision.


Glaucoma is a painful condition caused by the build-up of increased pressure inside the eye. If left untreated, unfortunately glaucoma can quickly lead to blindness.

If you have concerns about your cat’s eyes, contact your local St Kitts practice.

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799


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