Eye Infections

Eye infections in cats, though relatively common, can lead to discomfort and potential vision impairment if left untreated. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of eye infections in cats, including their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and preventive measures.

Table of Contents

Understanding Feline Eye Infections

Eye infections in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. These microorganisms can enter the eye through direct contact with contaminated objects or surfaces, trauma, or underlying systemic diseases compromising the immune system. Common types of eye infections in cats include conjunctivitis, keratitis, uveitis, and blepharitis.

Identifying Symptoms

Ocular Discharge

One of the primary signs of an eye infection in cats is the presence of ocular discharge, which may vary in color, consistency, and quantity depending on the underlying cause. Discharge may be clear, mucoid, purulent (yellow or green), or bloody.

Redness and Swelling

Eye infections often cause redness and swelling of the conjunctiva (the thin, transparent membrane covering the inner surface of the eyelids and the white part of the eye). Inflammation of the conjunctiva, known as conjunctivitis, can result in a pink or red appearance of the eye.

Squinting and Excessive Tearing

Cats with eye infections may squint or keep their eyes partially closed to reduce discomfort. Excessive tearing, also known as epiphora, may occur as the eye attempts to flush out irritants or pathogens.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Veterinary Examination

Diagnosing eye infections in cats requires a thorough ophthalmic examination by a veterinarian. This may include visual inspection of the eye using a slit lamp biomicroscope, assessment of corneal clarity, measurement of intraocular pressure, and evaluation of tear film quality.

Diagnostic Tests

Additional diagnostic tests may be necessary to identify the underlying cause of the eye infection and determine the most appropriate treatment. These may include conjunctival swabs for cytology or culture and sensitivity testing, corneal staining to detect ulcers, or blood tests to assess for systemic diseases predisposing to ocular infections.

Treatment Options

Treatment of feline eye infections depends on the underlying cause and severity of the infection. In many cases, topical or systemic antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to control infection, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms. Warm compresses and gentle cleaning of the eye may also help remove discharge and promote healing.

Preventive Measures

Environmental Hygiene

Maintaining a clean and hygienic living environment for cats can help reduce the risk of eye infections. Regular cleaning of litter boxes, grooming supplies, and bedding can minimize exposure to potential pathogens and irritants.


Vaccination against common infectious agents known to cause eye infections, such as feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV), can help reduce the risk of disease transmission and minimize the severity of symptoms in infected cats.

Routine Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary examinations are essential for monitoring your cat’s ocular health and detecting eye infections early. Prompt intervention and treatment can help prevent complications and promote timely resolution of the infection.


Eye infections in cats can cause discomfort and potential vision impairment if not promptly diagnosed and treated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and preventive measures associated with feline eye infections, cat owners can take proactive steps to safeguard their feline companions’ ocular health and ensure a lifetime of clear, comfortable vision. With proper care, attention, and veterinary guidance, cats can overcome eye infections and enjoy a fulfilling life free from ocular discomfort and complications.

Animal Eye Clinic

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Closed

Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities

Every Tuesday and Friday

Scroll to Top