What To Do When Your Cat’s Eyes Get Gooey

If your cat's eyes begin to discharge matter, it is time to pay close attention. The heavier the discharge, the more serious the problem is likely to be.

Matter flowing from the eyes is called an ocular discharge and is a principal sign of eye disease. In simplest form, it represents the response of the eye to an irritation or injury or an inability to properly drain tears or secretions. The exact cause can only be determined by a careful examination and appropriate diagnostic tests.

If your cat's eyes begin to release unusual amounts of matter, you should quickly bring your pet to the hospital for examination because some causes of excessive ocular discharge are potentially vision threatening and require immediate medical attention. And you should NOT administer human, prescription eye medicine or even over-the-counter medicines such as Visine or other topical solutions intended to "reduce eye redness" to your pet. The underlying cause for the problem must be properly addressed.

Tips to Help Your Cat

  • Gently clean away eye discharge with a warm moist cloth as needed until the cause of the problem is identified.
  • Prevent your cat from rubbing her eyes to avoid injury.
  • Flush the eyes or eyelids with sterile saline contact lens solution as a temporary measure.

    Abnormal discharges may develop suddenly or gradually and may be watery, more thickened and even bloody. They can be brought on by a wide range of causes including obstructed tear ducts, an eyelash misdirected toward the cornea, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, trauma and many more.

    Your veterinarian will choose the proper case based on the diagnosis of why your cat's eyes are discharging matter. Reaching a diagnosis will likely involve a complete medical history and physical examination, a complete examination of your cat's eyes, tests to determine if tear production is normal, elevated or reduced, tests to identify problems in the surface of your cat's eyes, tests for glaucoma and blood work.

    Consultation with specialists in the fields of ophthalmology, pathology and radiology is recommended when the diagnosis and management of the problem is difficult or confounding.

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