Ocular (Eye) Trauma in Cats

Feline Eye Trauma

Ocular trauma may result from either blunt or sharp forces applied directly to the eye. Blunt injuries to the eye are sustained when flat or dull objects strike the surface of the eye and often traumatize the eye without penetrating it. These concussive forces can result in forward displacement of the eye from the bony eye socket (proptosis), lens displacement (luxation), bleeding within the front chamber of the eye (hyphema), retinal detachment, fractures of the bones around the eye, and occasionally rupture and collapse of the eyeball (globe).

Sharp injuries occur when piercing, pointed or jagged objects forcefully connect with the eye. Common examples include cat claw injuries, thorns, branches and sticks, sharp toys, or small airborne objects. Potential injuries to the eye include laceration or abrasion of the eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva and sclera, penetration of the cornea or eye itself, hyphema, lens displacement or lens capsule tear, and orbital injuries.

Ocular trauma can affect pets of any age. Younger animals are more likely to act without caution and may not be as adept at protecting their eyes. They are also more likely to stray from their owners and become injured by other animals or be involved in road accidents. Outdoor cats are more prone to ocular trauma and are also more likely to encounter other unrestrained or wild animals, and vehicles. Non-neutered male cats are more prone to roaming and are at a higher risk for traumatic injuries associated with fighting.

What to Watch For

Animals with minor ocular trauma may show the following symptoms:

Animals with major ocular trauma show the following symptoms:

Diagnosis of Ocular Trauma in Cats

Veterinary care includes diagnostic tests to determine the severity and extent of the injuries that were sustained by the eye and to determine appropriate treatments. There are several potential diagnostic tests. These tests include:

Treatment of Ocular Trauma in Cats

Treatment depends on the extent and severity of the ocular injuries. Treatment may involve either medical, or medical and surgical intervention to stabilize the ocular injuries.

Home Care

Obtaining immediate veterinary medical attention is critical as many forms of ocular trauma are vision threatening, and most are associated with significant discomfort or pain.

Keep your cat quiet and confined to a safe area in order to minimize further injury. Do not allow him to rub excessively or traumatize the injured eye. A protective collar called an Elizabethan collar may be necessary to ensure this and may be obtained from your veterinarian.

Do not administer human over-the-counter medicines such as VisineĀ® or other ophthalmic products designed to reduce eye redness or irritation as the extent of the injury must be identified and appropriately treated.

Preventative Care of Ocular Trauma in Cats

It helps to neuter male cats to reduce the incidence of roaming and fighting.