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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.

Dry Eye Syndrome Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $150 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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. 

Physical 

  • Eye mucus
  • Swollen blood vessels
  • Impaired vision or blindness
  • Excessive blinking
  • Protruding eyelids
  • Corneal ulcers

Behavioral

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Squinting

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. 

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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. 

Illness

  • 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

 Trauma

  • Removal of the third eyelid
  • Injury to central nervous system
  • Contact with beams from a radiological device

 Drugs

  • Atropines or toxins used in muscle relaxants
  • Anesthesia, gases or injections for pain insensitivity
  • NSAID or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
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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.
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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. 

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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.
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Dry Eye Syndrome Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $150 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Dry Eye Syndrome Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Loki

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American Shorthair

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Discharge
Inflammation
Light Sensitivity
Redness. Swollen. Discharge.

My cat Loki was diagnosed with KCS two weeks ago. I had been giving him cyclosporine drops twice a day and it seemed to be making his eye worse. His third eyelid got more red and inflamed off and on and the thick yellow discharge got worse. The vet then gave me steroid/antibacterial eyedrops to put in Loki’s eye before the cyclosporine. I noticed too, that it seemed like whenever I used the cyclosporine, Loki started to vomit and lose his appetite. He was throwing up yellow bile. He was also not excited about his treats like he usually is. So I stopped the cyclosporine for about 4 days and only administered the steroid/antibiotic drops. After a day of not using cyclosporine Loki’s appetite returned and he stopped vomiting. His eye almost seemed to look normal at this point too. However, today his eye is very inflamed, red and he is keeping it closed and pawing at it violently. He will not let me put any drops in it at all. I’ve tried for hours with no avail, it only makes him scratch his eye more. I’m not sure what is wrong but it is very upsetting. I feel so bad for him and I just want to help him!

Dry Eye Syndrome Average Cost

From 470 quotes ranging from $150 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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