Eyesight is extremely important for cats, but your feline friends can share many of the same eye disorders as their human owners. From a gooey discharge to excessive tearing, your kitten’s eye symptoms could indicate a more serious disorder. If you recognize an eye problem, a vet visit is crucial.
The most common eye problems that affect kittens include disorders of the conjunctiva. Inflammation of the conjunctiva is known as conjunctivitis, or pink eye, often caused by a viral infection. It affects the membrane covering the back of the eyelids, as well as the surface of the eyeballs up to the cornea, according to WebMD. Conjunctiva disorders are typically associated with a thick, mucus-like discharge, accompanied by a red or painful eye. Diseases of the inner eye, including glaucoma and uveitis, can result in loss of vision if not promptly treated.
Abnormal Eyeball Positioning
If your kitten’s eyeball appears abnormally positioned, he may have strabismus, exophthalmos or enophthalmos. Strabismus occurs when one or both eyes look off in different directions, often referred to as crossed eyes. With exophthalmos, your kitten’s eyeball may actually bulge or protrude, often causing discharge, pain or vision loss. Enophthalmos has the opposite effect, causing the eye to sink into the skull.
Viral and Bacterial Infections
Pesky organisms can wreak havoc on your beloved kitten’s eyes. The most common infections include feline herpesvirus, mycoplasma and chlamydia psittaci. Occasionally, carriers of the virus can develop a condition known as infectious feline keratoconjunctivitis, characterized by drainage, inflammation and corneal scars. Mycoplasma and secondary infections can lead to deep ulcers of the cornea. Kittens are generally more susceptible to health problems because of their immature immune systems.
Kittens can develop a number of congenital ocular anomalies shortly after birth. Many eye defects are heredity and can develop in utero or spontaneously at any point in the feline’s life. If mom cat was predisposed to toxic compounds, certain systemic infections or inflammations or poor nutrition during pregnancy, her kittens have an increased risk of eye disorders. Surgery can repair some congenital eye defects and medications may help Kitty deal with the associated side effects.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.