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What is Cloudy Eye?

Though eye disease is less common in cats than dogs, you should rush to the veterinarian as soon as you can if your cat’s eye or eyes appear cloudy. Since cloudy eye can be a sign of a number of serious eye conditions, immediate veterinary attention should be sought in order to ensure the best prognosis for your cat’s sight.

A cloudy eye can be a sign of several eye diseases in cats. These include, but are not limited to: corneal ulceration, keratitis, cataracts, and glaucoma. A number of diseases of the cornea and lens may be characterized by cloudy eyes. There are secondary non-infectious causes as well, such as exposure to certain toxins or chemicals.

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Cloudy Eye Average Cost

From 279 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Cloudy Eye in Cats

Seek immediate veterinary attention if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Rubbing the eyes
  • Excess tear production
  • Light sensitivity
  • Signs of pain
  • Squinting and rapid blinking
  • One eye appears larger than the other
  • Discharge
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
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Causes of Cloudy Eye in Cats

There are several causes of cloudy eye in cats. Primary causes include disease, which may also involve secondary, noninfectious causes such as trauma and exposure to chemicals. Each cause is described in-depth below.

Corneal Ulceration

Corneal ulcers can occur for a number of reasons, such as blunt trauma to the eye, exposure to chemicals, or infection. Ulcers in the cornea form when the epithelium, a thin layer of protective cells, is fully penetrated. Inflammatory cells enter the stroma, underneath the epithelium, which is responsible for the cloudy appearance of the eyes.

Keratitis

This condition is characterized by corneal inflammation and swelling. Keratitis may be attributed to a number of secondary causes, such as infection and injury. Keratitis is often caused by the feline herpesvirus.

Cataracts

Cats typically develop cataracts due to inflammation, systemic disease, or trauma to the lens rather than old age.  Old age causes a thickening of the lens called nuclear sclerosis, but cataracts are a different problem.  Cataracts are characterized by cloudy eye and partial to full vision loss.

Glaucoma

This irreversible disease occurs when the aqueous fluid within the eye stops draining properly. This buildup of fluid causes pressure on the optic nerve, causing nerve damage. This nerve damage will seriously impair your cat’s vision. Unfortunately, by the time signs manifest, partial vision loss has already occurred.

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Diagnosis of Cloudy Eye in Cats

Your veterinarian will make a tentative diagnosis based on a thorough physical examination, complete medical history, and presentation of signs. Be sure to inform your vet of the extent and duration of your cat’s signs, as well as any previous history of eye problems or traumatic injury that you know of.

Your veterinarian can reach a definitive diagnosis through a number of tests, and will choose the most appropriate method based on the suspected disease or cause. These tests may include: corneal stain, cell culture, microscopic examination of corneal tissue, and the use of a tonometer to test intraocular pressure.

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Treatment of Cloudy Eye in Cats

Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. 

Corneal ulcerations and keratitis are typically treated with antibiotic and/or pain relief eye drops and ointments. Antibiotic treatments might be administered several times a day.  Pain relief drops or ointments are typically administered less frequently, from every twelve to forty-eight hours. If the keratitis is caused by the feline herpes virus, treatment may be more invasive.

Cataracts, though irreversible, may be managed by treating a secondary cause of the condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Cataracts are often corrected with surgery, which is successful for most cases. This surgery involves removing the cataracts and implanting a synthetic lens.

There is no cure for glaucoma; treatment is palliative, or done to relieve the cat’s pain rather than curing the underlying condition. Your vet may prescribe steroids and special eye drops to reduce inflammation and pressure. These may slow the progression of vision loss.

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on a treatment and recovery plan – or refer you to an ophthalmologist – based on your cat’s needs.

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Recovery of Cloudy Eye in Cats

Recovery and prognosis will vary depending on the severity of the condition and effectiveness of treatment. Always follow your veterinarian’s post-treatment or post-operative instructions carefully. It is imperative that you administer antibiotic medications for the entire recommended duration of treatment even if the condition starts to improve. Failure to do so could result in aggressive recurrence or loss of sight.

Corneal ulcerations and keratitis tend to start to heal within three to five days with treatment. Some ulcers caused by infection may take longer to heal. Your veterinarian will advise you based on your cat’s signs.

For cataracts and glaucoma, your veterinarian may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor the condition. If the cloudy eye is not improving or seems to be getting worse despite treatment, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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Cloudy Eye Average Cost

From 279 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$800

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Top

Cloudy Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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tabi

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sox months

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Unknown severity

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25 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Cloudy Eyes, Film Over Eyes

What is wrong she isn’t herself and I’m not sure what to do. She keeps squinting and it seems to be getting worse.

Dec. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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25 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. It sounds like she may have an eye infection or scratch on her eye. It would be best for your cat to see your vet very soon. Eye issues can get worse very quickly. your vet can prescribe medication to help this eye heal very quickly.

Dec. 29, 2020

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bombay

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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16 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Cloudy Eye

My cat has one eye that is black from the pupil and the other seems black but when light hits looks like she's lost life in the eye. Please can you help me?

Nov. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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16 Recommendations

The cloudiness is not normal and does require an exam. There are a number of possible causes including uveitis, an ulcer, an infection etc. A vet does need to examine the eye so we can determine what's going on.

Nov. 30, 2020

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Cloudy Eye Average Cost

From 279 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$800

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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