Dry eye in cats is a condition that occurs when a cat does not produce enough tears. It is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (or KCS).
KCS can cause a cat to have swollen eyelids or problems with their corneal pigmentation.
If you see the signs in your cat, then you have to see a vet for a correct diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of dry eye in cats.
Dry eye symptoms in cats
As the name of the disease suggests, dry eye causes symptoms that are primarily manifested in and around cats’ eyes.
The most common symptoms include
- Flashes a lot
- Swollen eyelids
- Discharge of pus or mucus from the eye
- Appearance of a third eyelid
- Changes in the cornea, especially pigmentation
Along with physical symptoms around the eyes, KCS can also make a cat appear depressed or more withdrawn than usual.
Causes of dry eye in cats
There are a variety of causes of dry eye in cats. Studies also suggest that female cats are more likely to experience dry eye than male cats.
Some of the most common causes are:
- Feline flu or feline herpes virus
- Neurological diseases
- A traumatic injury that affects the central nervous system
- Side effects of drugs, especially anti-inflammatory drugs
Treatments for dry eye in cats
If you take your cat to a veterinarian with suspected dry eye, the veterinarian will conduct a series of tests and examinations to determine the cause.
Along with your cat’s medical history, the vet will conduct a thorough eye exam. This could include a Schirmer tear test, which uses strips of paper to monitor tear production and dryness in the eye.
In milder cases, your vet may prescribe eye drops to help resolve the problem. You can also prescribe antibiotic creams if there is an infection.
In more severe cases, your veterinarian might consider a surgical procedure known as parotid duct transposition. This diverts the cat’s watery ducts so that saliva can be used to make up for the lack of tears.
Has your cat suffered from dry eyes before? What advice did your vet give you for treating your pet? Let us know the experience in the comments below!