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Eye Injuries in Cats




The course of treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and the part of the eye that was injured. If the wound is non-perforating and has no wound edge or opening, an Elizabethan collar will be used to prevent your cat from scratching at its eye, along with antibiotic or atropine eye solutions. Non-perforating wounds that have a mild break in the tissue, or a pinpoint wound perforation, may be treated with a soft contact lens, an Elizabethan collar, and antibiotic or atropine solutions.


Injuries requiring surgical exploration or repair:


  • Full-thickness corneal lacerations
  • Full-thickness wounds with iris involvement
  • Full-thickness scleral or corneoscleral lacerations
  • Retained foreign object or a posterior scleral (white of the eye) rupture
  • Simple nonperforating wound with edges that are moderately or overtly broken, and that are long, or more than two-thirds the corneal thickness


Most of the time, a cornea that has been lacerated due to injury, or has retained a foreign object, is salvageable. However, the further back, or deeper the injury, the poorer the prognosis for retention of vision. Cases that would warrant a poor prognoses, for example, would be an injury to the white, outer membrane of the eyeball, the sclera, or to the fluid part, the vascular layer of the eyeball. If there is no light perception, it may be due to a perforated injury involving the lens; a significant hemorrhage in the vitreous, the clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball; or, from retinal detachment. Penetrating injuries usually have a better prognosis then perforating injuries, and blunt traumas carry a poorer prognosis than sharp traumas.


Under most circumstances, your veterinarian will prescribe medications that are suitable to the seriousness of the wound. Antibiotics are usually prescribed, as well as anti-inflammatory medications and analgesics for pain.


Living and Management


Deep or wide penetrating wounds that have not been sutured will need to be rechecked every 24 to 48 hours for the first several days. If the penetrating wound is superficial, rechecking every three to five days until it is healed is sufficient.


As to prevention, take care when introducing new pets into the home if you already have a cat. Shows of authority by the established cat, or aggressive attempts at displacing the “head” cat by the newcomer can result in unintentional injuries. Also, as much as possible, discourage your pet from running through dense vegetation. If you are in an area that carries the risk of having debris transmitted to the eyes, like wooded areas, beaches, etc., it would be a good idea to have a bottle of saline eyewash to irrigate foreign debris from the eye.



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