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Protrusion of Third Eyelid in Cats

By: Dr. Noelle McNabb

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Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests may include one or more of the following:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination

  • Complete ophthalmic examination including testing of pupillary light reflexes, Schirmer tear test, fluorescein staining of the cornea, tonometry to measure the pressure within the eye, and examination of the interior of the eye under magnification. Your veterinarian may refer your cat to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further evaluation using specialized instrumentation.

  • The third eyelid itself may be examined with a forceps after application of a local anesthetic.

  • Neurologic examination to assess the presence of neurologic disease

  • Complete blood count (CBC) and serum biochemistry tests to evaluate the underlying cause and identify any related problems

  • Skull X-rays to determine the presence of a bony orbital or sinus problem

  • Ultrasound examination of the eye and soft tissues within the orbit behind the eye

  • Specialized imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the eye, orbit and brain

  • Pharmacologic testing with topical medications to aid in establishing the diagnosis of Horner's syndrome and dysautonomia

  • Fine-needle aspirate or biopsy (tissue sample) of abnormal masses/swellings involving the TE and orbit may aid in the diagnosis of a TE tumor or cyst

    Treatment In-depth

  • Ultimate therapy of TE protrusion depends on identifying the exact cause of the problem. There are numerous possible causes for TE elevation; therefore it is essential to pinpoint a specific cause to provide appropriate treatment.

  • Do not administer human over-the-counter medications, such as Visine® or other ophthalmic remedies intended to "reduce eye redness" or irritation, because these medications rarely help the problem and may make diagnosis of the cause more difficult.

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