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What are Eye Injuries?

Untreated eye injuries can greatly damage your cat’s eye, even leading to blindness in severe cases. If your cat is avoiding bright lights, keeping its eye closed or squinting, it’s likely that the eye is injured. Seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect an eye injury.

These injuries can be caused by play, fighting with other cats, a foreign object that has either penetrated or fully punctured the eye and even projectiles like fireworks. 

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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Eye Injuries Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Eye Injuries in Cats

Eye injury symptoms tend to occur rapidly, increasing in intensity as the foreign object remains in the eye or the wound worsens. The following symptoms indicate that your cat’s eye is injured:

  • Clouded cornea
  • Visible blood in the eye
  • Distorted pupils
  • Visible foreign object in the eye
  • Eye discharge 
  • Swelling or inflammation of the eye
  • Pawing at the eye 

Types

  • Penetrating: The wound or foreign object has entered the eye, but does not puncture the cornea or sclera (the white of the eye). 
  • Perforating: The wound or foreign object has passed through the cat’s cornea or sclera. These typically are more serious injuries. 
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Causes of Eye Injuries in Cats

Cats possess complex vision systems that allow them to hunt at night and see objects clearly from yards away. Cats have also a third “eyelid,” a thick membrane that protects the eye from scratches and debris. Despite this, cats’ eyes are prone to injury. Causes of eye injury in cats include: 

  • Fights with other animals
  • Scratches from leaves or branches
  • Playing with objects in the home
  • Car accidents 
  • Fireworks or other projectiles
  • Chemical splashes from e.g. shampoo or insecticides
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Diagnosis of Eye Injuries in Cats

Injuries to the eye constitute a medical emergency. Only a veterinarian can diagnose an eye injury and recommend proper treatment. Even if the foreign object is visible, do not attempt to treat an eye injury at home. Doing so could risk further damage to your cat’s eye.

When you visit your veterinarian, give him or her an account of what happened, including when you first noticed the injury and what you believe may have caused it. Tell your veterinarian if you feel the injury is getting better or worse. 

During the exam, the veterinarian will first look for the presence of a foreign object. If the object is visible, the diagnosis will be straightforward. However, if there isn’t a visible cause, your veterinarian may wish to rule out deeper injury, corneal ulcer, or bruising by conducting a full ocular examination. The veterinarian will use light to check your cat’s pupils, ensuring they are symmetrical and responding properly. The vet may also stain the eye to check for any ulcers.

If natural causes are not responsible for the injury, your veterinarian may wish to examine the internal parts of your cat’s eye.

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Treatment of Eye Injuries in Cats

Treatment for your cat’s eye injury will be recommended based on the severity of the injury and which part of the eye was affected. Penetrating injuries usually have a better chance of recovery than perforating injuries, and blunt traumas are more severe than sharp traumas to the eye. 

Penetrating Injuries

Typically, if the injury is penetrating and has no opening, your veterinarian will suggest an Elizabethan collar to prevent your cat from further damaging the eye. Antibiotics or eye drops are used to ease inflammation and swelling. Corneal ulcers are often treated with antibiotic ointments. 

Perforating Injuries

Surgical repair will be required for perforating injuries, including corneal lacerations and full-thickness wounds. If the foreign object remains in the eye, surgery will be needed to remove it. In most cases, lacerated corneas due to foreign objects can be treated. A specialist surgeon is usually drafted in.

Vision loss is possible if the injury is deep within the eye. If your cat is struggling with light perception, there may be an injury to the lens or a hemorrhage in the vitreous, the gel-like structure that gives the eye its shape. 

After surgery, your veterinarian will recommend antibiotics and pain relievers as needed. These medications will vary depending on the severity of the wound. 

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Recovery of Eye Injuries in Cats

Following surgery, monitor your cat to ensure the injury is healing properly. Note any changes to the eye, and contact your veterinarian if you believe the wound isn’t healing. If your cat has suffered vision loss due to the injury, you will have to help your pet cope with its new disability. 

Most eye injuries in cats heal completely, allowing the cat to resume its normal activities. Recovery time largely depends on the type of injury and its severity. Be sure to administer all medications that your vet recommends, and remove any potential eye irritants from the cat’s reach.

Eye injuries in cats can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat is at risk of developing an eye injury, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Eye Injuries Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Top

Eye Injuries Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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cat

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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21 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Left Eye, Third Eyelid Half Showing With What Looks Like A Scratch On Top,Mucus

I think the little cat scratched the bigger one while playing.. doesnt seem as if hes in pain badly, still playful but it doesn't look to good, I tried to wipe it with a warm cloth but he wont let me near it.

Feb. 2, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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21 Recommendations

Hi, Sorry about that. Eye lacerations can be painful which explains why he doesn't the eye touched. He needs to be put on an antibiotic eye ointment or drops to prevent any bacterial infection from setting in. Also, some anti-inflammatories can help with the pain. Please pay your vet a visit for a check-up and treatment. Good luck

Feb. 2, 2021

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Domestic Cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Scratching

My cat got into a fight, and another cat scratched her eye. There was bleeding. Her eye is covered with lumps of skin and some pus. I have covered it in triple antibiotics. Don't have money for a vet.

Nov. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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9 Recommendations

Hi there, you don't say what exactly your question is. An incident like this is potentially very serious and could lead to the loss of an eye if not treated promptly and effectively. I appreciate your financial concern but this isn't something that can be treated at home. Your cat needs veterinary attention as well as prescription medicine such as pain relief and anti inflammatories. We should also protect the eyes by having her wear a buster collar and clean them with saline.

Nov. 7, 2020

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Eye Injuries Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

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

Compare plans
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