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Aurelia’s Story

Aurelia’s Story and advice on issues with Cats' Eyes

“Aurelia” was a beautiful, two-year-old, female, Red Tabby, Maine Coon cat with the most amazing, distinctive, golden eyes. Aurelia was brought into the surgery as her owner had noted she had a consistent weeping from her left eye, and she was often seen rubbing her left eye and holding it shut. Drops that were dispensed for her initially seemed to transiently alleviate the problem. However, the symptoms had recurred in this same eye yet again. Further examinations revealed that Aurelia had an Entropion of her lower Left eyelid, which would need surgical correction, as this was causing some rubbing and irritation to the other eye structures.  

Entropion is a rolling-in of the eyelids, and can involve the upper or lower eyelids, and both in some cases, and it can involve one or both eyes. The Entropion condition causes discomfort due to the eyelid lashes rubbing on the cornea. In some cases, corneal inflammation, ulcerations, perforations, and scarring can occur, if the Entropion is not corrected surgically. 

Eyes are delicate, precious organs, and any eye problems should always be taken seriously to prevent a long-term loss of vision.  

Cats have three eyelids: the upper lid, lower lid, and a third eyelid in the inside corner of the eye. The conjunctivae are the soft, pink tissues sitting inside the eyelids and around the eyeball. The Cornea is the clear, front surface of the eyeball. The Iris is the coloured part of the eye. The Pupil is the centre “hole” in the iris that lets light into the eye. The Lens is a small, transparent disc inside the eyeball. It focuses images on the back of the eye. The Retina is at the back of the eye where a layer of light-sensitive cells receives images. The Optic nerve is the nerve that transmits the image signals to the brain, enabling sight. 

Problems with eyes can present themselves in many ways. Injuries, Infections, Pressure changes, Eyelid problems, and even disease processes in another part of the body for example Diabetes, or an acute infection seated elsewhere. To prevent loss of vision, they should always be taken seriously and dealt with quickly. If you notice any change in your cat’s eyes, do contact your vet. If your cat seems to be in any pain, then contact your vet immediately.  

Some signs of eye problems are: Excessive weeping or eye discharge, which can be watery, yellow, green, crusty; Any redness or swelling; Inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelids the conjunctivae; Cloudiness on the front of the eye ( the cornea) ; Blinking and discomfort; Keeping the eye partially or completely closed; The Third eyelid (the nictitating membrane) showing and raised; Any lumps in or around the eye; Cuts or tears to the eyelids; Apparent loss of vision; Blood noted within the eye; Bulging of the eye; Changes in the shape of the eye or pupil. 

Eye problems can be due to various causes: Eye infections caused by bacteria or viruses’ causing inflammation of the conjunctivae and eye discharge. Fights and accidents are the most common sources of eye injuries in cats, wounds on the surface of the eye, the cornea, can lead to corneal ulceration. Corneal ulcers do need treatment to help them heal and can lead to loss of an eye if neglected; Eyelid problems, such as Entropion, and any lesions on the eyelids: cysts, or warts, can also cause irritation and corneal ulcers; Marked clouding of the lens structure is called a cataract. They are much less common in cats than in dogs but do sometimes occur. Retinal detachment is where the thin tissue layer of the retina separates from the back of the eye causing a loss of vision. Retinal detachment is often due to high blood pressure, and this is common in cats with hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease; Uveitis is an inflammation of the coloured part of the eye, the Iris, and the structures around it, this inflammation is often secondary to another disease process within the cat’s body and so further investigations are required; Masses can occur within, around and behind the eye. It is important to get any noted lumps or swellings checked by your vet; Lens luxation occurs when the lens structure comes out of position, often because of another underlying condition causing changes within the eye; Glaucoma is due to an increased pressure inside the eye. This is a painful condition that can quickly lead to blindness if left untreated. 

It is important to regularly check cat eye health to ensure that any eye problems, or any other health problems, are dealt with quickly. Your vet will give your cat an overall examination and then examine their eye health in more detail. This will involve the use of an ophthalmoscope for a closer look at all the eye structures and to determine how they react to the scope light. A safe dye stain may be used to check for damage to the surface of the eye, and tonometer instrument to check eye pressures, if necessary. More difficult cases may require referral to a specialist Veterinary Ophthalmologist for further diagnosis and treatment.  

The beautiful “Aurelia” was referred to a Veterinary Ophthalmologist to have a surgical correction of her Entropion. Her surgery was successful, and she now has regular check-ups to ensure that her eyes stay healthy, and she has two, stunning, golden eyes again! 

 

Alison Laurie-Chalmers 

Senior Consultant 
Crown Vets 

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