Why do Cats get Red Irritated Eyes?

by Whitne'
(Gering, Ne United States)

This is Ludwig

This is Ludwig

My cat was originally from a farm and turned into a house cat, he has adapted well but last year had one red inflamed eye that had to be treated by a vet, he had to take medication and eye drops. He is now experiencing the same thing no but not so severe. Any guess what it might be? P.S. He's 3 years old.

Reply from Liz (editor): Red eyes is one of those cat problems which has a number of possible causes. I've listed some of the main ones below, your cat's red eye problems could be due to one of these. If it doesn't clear up soon, or starts looking worse, you'd be best to get him treated again. If eye problems in cats are left too long they can cause a deterioration in vision.

Red eyes (or conjunctivitis, to use the technical term) in cats can be caused by:

  • Infection: This is the most common cause. It often starts in one eye but then spreads to both, and is usually accompanied by a thick, colored discharge

  • Injury: For example a scratch

  • Allergies: Some cats are allergic to certain things in the environment, and just like humans can get red, irritated eyes as a result. This is often accompanied by a watery discharge

  • Irritants: Some cats' eyes get irritated by things like smoke and dust

  • Something inside their eye that shouldn't be there: For example a hair, grass seed, bug

  • Excessively dry eyes: Caused by a lack of tears reaching the surface of the eye

Taking a guess with your cat, because it's just one eye, I think it's more likely to be infection or one excessively dry eye - unless he's been unlucky enough to get things stuck in his eye that shouldn't be there on two separate occasions! However, your vet is the only person who can tell you for sure.

Your cat is gorgeous, thank you for the lovely photo and I hope you get your cat problems sorted out soon.

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