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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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Written by Darlene Stott

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 11/16/2016, edited: 03/16/2021

Cloudy Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Asian Tabby

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Eight Months

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Unknown severity

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Sneezing, Teary Eyes, Water Discharge From Eyes, Itchy Eyes, Reddish Left Eye And Cloudy

At first, my cat keeps on coughing and sneezing, eventually his gums become reddish also his eyes is teary and become reddish.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 21, 2020

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American short hair

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15-18

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Eyes Turning White

what can be causing Jacks eyes to turn white? It looks like it is inside the eye not on it.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Animals can develop infections, and cataracts. Since I cannot see Jack, if you are concerned, it would be best to have them seen by a seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Tabby

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Eight Weeks

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Puffy Eye

Kitten is licking paw and rubbing his right eye repeatedly, his eye was stuck shut from eye boogers and he had a thin film of them over his eye. Upon wiping his eye clear and getting it open, his eye was still a bit red and he still can’t fully open it/it looks swollen

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Sphynx

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Twelve Weeks

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Eye Infection

The gray cloud covering his eye as he healed with antibiotics has now formed a little grey blob of tissue in the middle right of his left eye. My vet is closed...any insight?

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Cats can get corneal sequestrum as a result of bad infections. This does need to be looked at by a veterinarian, but it should not be an emergency. You should be fine to wait until your veterinarian is open in the next day or two, and have your cat seen to make sure that everything is healing normally, or if other medications may be needed. I hope that everything goes well with your kitten.

July 31, 2020

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Domestic short haired

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Irritated Eye

My cat has always had problems with one eye on and off since she was a kitten...it gets watery and itchy..well now she won’t open it and her eye lids are red and inflamed and she has a cloudy spot on her eye

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, SO sorry to hear about your cat. Some cats do deal with eye issues their whole life. From the picture, it looks like your cat may have an infection and need antibiotic eye drops. Your vet can prescribe these for you. I hope your cat starts to feel better soon.

July 26, 2020

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Georgia

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tabby

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10 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sore Eye

PLEASE SOMEBODY ANSWER MY QUESTION IM REALLY FREAKIN OUT !!! So this morning i wake up gave my cat some food & water well i noticed her eye is cloudy i started immediately cryin breakin down , Ok but lastnight she came & laid on me & i normally clean her eyes out well when i went to do so she acted like it was sore she got up & went to lay down , She hasnt been playful in the past couple days .... I really wanna know whats going on with my baby . i dont wanna think the worst but right now thats all i can think about 😫😥 PLEASE HELP ME !!!???

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Felix

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Chantilly-Tiffany

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Cloudy Eyes

My cat is about 5-6 years old, I looked into his eyes today and noticed that both of his eyes looked cloudy. It's not too intense, however, it is not hard for me to miss since I adore the contrast of his fur to his beautiful yellow eyes. His eyes now look more like a pale yellow rather than emerald with a bit more cloudy-ness at the base of his eyes. He is far too difficult to handle which makes it impossible to take him to the nearest vet, are there any at home remedies I can try before I force him into a box and drive 14 minutes to a vet? Please respond soon!

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zuzu

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Cat

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Eye Redness

My 8 month old cat came in from outside. I noticed she was holding her right eye close No visible injuries noted. Next day the eye is cloudy. She is acting fine. Any suggestions?

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Bruce

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Domestic short haired.

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Cloudy, Weepy And Squinty.

1 year old rescue we have had for 9 months has developed a cloudy weepy eye been to the vet numerous times and have tried anti biotics and steroid cream with no luck? What could this be?

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Tigger

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tabby

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18 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Circles

My Tigger is a 18yr old cat. I took him to see a vet a few days ago. He received an abt shot. He seems to be having a hard time with balance when trying stand and walking. lethargic.appetite fair. Able to urinate haven't moved bowels in couple of days. I said I will take him back to md , if not better in 3 to 4 more days. Abt shot is suppose to last 2wks. What should I do? Normally healthy, bouncy cat!

Cloudy Eye Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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