What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
If your cat shows evidence of dry eye syndrome, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian (vet). The cure may be as simple as eye drops. Or, for severe cases, this specialist may refer you to a veterinarian ophthalmologist. This type of animal doctor is an ocular expert who has extensive knowledge of eye disorders.
Dry eye syndrome in cats occurs because of a deficiency in tear production and is known as keratoconjunctivitis (KCS). Two characteristics of this ailment are swollen eyelids and altered corneal pigmentation. Treatment involves eye hydration or correction of the root cause through drugs or surgery.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome in cats reflect through their eye mechanisms. From the lashes to ducts, systems malfunction. They also hurt; as a consequence, your pet's emotional state alters. Below are common indicators.
- Eye mucus
- Swollen blood vessels
- Impaired vision or blindness
- Excessive blinking
- Protruding eyelids
- Corneal ulcers
Cats with dry eye syndrome need immediate care. Besides discomfort, they face life-altering side effects if untreated. So, seek medical help as soon as possible.
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats
Causes of dry eye syndrome in cats vary. Frequent contributors are illness, trauma and adverse effects from drugs. Also, females have a higher risk factor. Consequently, unlike other feline conditions, the triggers are easy to pinpoint.
- Feline herpesvirus (FHV, FHV-1) or cat flu
- Systemic disease affecting a number of body organs
- Chlamydiosis, a bacterium infecting the respiratory system
- Immune-mediated diseases that lower immune defenses
- Neurological disease disrupting nerves in the tear gland
- Dry nose, a state in which this area remains arid
- Removal of the third eyelid
- Injury to central nervous system
- Contact with beams from a radiological device
- Atropines or toxins used in muscle relaxants
- Anesthesia, gases or injections for pain insensitivity
- NSAID or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
Diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats
Diagnosing dry eye syndrome in cats is comprehensive. The vet must discover the origins of this ailment to determine an appropriate treatment plan. To reach this goal, he must give your pet a thorough exam. Expect the following:
- Ophthalmic exam: A series of tests that obtain data on your cat's vision and eye health.
- Schirmer's tear test: The placement of paper strips in your cat's eyes to detect dryness or tear production.
- Aqueous fluid sample: The collection of watery fluid produced by the aqueous humor. This agent carries proteins that keep a cat's eye moist. At times, it also falls prey to harmful bacteria.
- Fluorescein eye stain: The vet puts orange dye (fluorescein) into your cat's eye and, with a blue light, looks for cornea damage.
Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats
Treatment for dry eye syndrome in cats depends on the underlying cause. A family vet can cure mild cases of this ailment. For more severe ones, you must take your cat to a veterinary ophthalmologist. He may perform a surgery and offer extensive care for irreversible symptoms.
- Eye lubricant: To hydrate your cat's eyes, the vet may prescribe liquid drops or an ointment.
- Antibiotic eye ointment: The vet may prescribe this substance to treat a bacterial infection.
- Topical corticosteroid: This cream reduces inflammation. Use is for swollen tissue on or around your cat's eyes.
- Parotid duct transposition. Through surgery, the vet reroutes the aqueous ducts. This procedure allows saliva to replace tears. Since saliva irritates the eyes of some cats, he may require additional therapy.
All treatment options for dry eye syndrome involve follow-up visits. Timelines differ based on severity. Ask your vet for specifics especially when your cat suffers from another illness.
Recovery of Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats
Most cats recover from dry eye syndrome within 90 days. Blindness is rare. To expedite recovery:
- Cleanse the eye prior to applying medicine.
- Enlist the help of a family member to keep your cat calm throughout the application process. Cats avoid having anything put in or on their eyes.
- Apply all of the antibiotic even after your cat's eyes looks better. This improves his chances of a full recovery.
- Prepare for repeat medical tests. To make sure your cat's eyes are disease free, the vet may ask for a Schirmer's tear test every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Offer up extra treats and toys to your cat. They elevate his mood and distract him from pain.