The eyes are considered the windows to the soul—you know that’s true every time you look into your pet’s eyes. Unfortunately, those beautiful eyes are susceptible to various eye diseases that all pet owners should know about. Therefore, Wales Animal Clinic explains eye diseases and injuries, including signs, causes, and treatment, to ensure you can protect your pet’s eyes as much as possible.

6 commonly diagnosed eye problems in pets

Our eyes allow us to experience our world and help us avoid risks and possible trauma. Most pets have keen eyesight and an eye injury or illness limits their ability to function.

Because eyesight problems are so limiting, most eye conditions and injuries are considered a veterinary emergency. The eye conditions that we most commonly treat include:

  • Conjunctivitis — You’ve likely heard of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, which affects people and pets. The condition is characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva (i.e., the thin membrane covering the eye and inner eyelids). Common disease indicators include redness, eye discharge, and blinking or squinting. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus or bacteria, allergies, infection, or foreign bodies in the eye and is usually treated with topical medications. 
  • Cherry eye — Cherry eye is swelling of the third eyelid’s gland that is easily recognized when it appears in the corner of the eye as a swollen, red, fleshy mass. Certain breeds are at increased risk. Surgery to reposition the gland and reduce the likelihood of complications is usually needed.
  • Cataracts — Cataracts are indicated when your pet’s eyes become cloudy and milk-colored. This “film” prevents the retina from receiving adequate light, and can lead to blindness if untreated. Cataracts are most often diagnosed in senior pets, but also in pets with conditions such as diabetes and traumatic injuries. Genes can also play a role. Cataracts can affect eyesight and require surgical removal.
  • Glaucoma — This serious eye disease in pets is caused by increased intraocular pressure from fluid buildup. Glaucoma can be extremely painful and lead to permanent vision loss if not promptly addressed. Noticeable glaucoma signs include squinting, redness, and a cloudy cornea. Treatment involves medications to reduce intraocular pressure and surgery, in severe cases.
  • Dry eye — Dry eye (i.e., keratoconjunctivitis sicca) occurs when the pet cannot produce the protective film that covers the eye surface and the lining of the eyelids. When a pet can’t produce tears, their eyes stay scratchy and uncomfortable. Dry eyes are indicated by redness, discharge, and squinting and require treatment with artificial tears. 
  • Corneal ulcers — These ulcers are the result of breaks and abrasions on the corneal surface because of injury, age, or secondary complications from another eye condition. Signs include squinting, excessive tearing, and light sensitivity. Treatment involves eye medication and protection, and surgical intervention for severe cases.

Any eye injury should be treated as a veterinary emergency, because prompt treatment is the best chance of stopping any problems from worsening. 

General eye condition signs in pets

Numerous eye conditions, including accidents and injuries as well as illness, affect cats and dogs. To catch the indicators early, you should learn the clinical signs that require veterinary intervention, which include:

  • Enlarged (i.e., dilated) pupils
  • Watery eyes or excessive tearing
  • Cloudiness or discoloration of the eye surface
  • Rubbing, scratching, or pawing at the eyes
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Discharge
  • Eye injury

Changes in your pet’s eye health must be checked by your veterinarian. Eye disease is serious and can lead to loss of vision or blindness. 

Keep your pet’s peepers in good health

Regular wellness examinations, which include eye exams, make detecting any vision problems in your four-legged friend much easier, and early detection means prompt attention. Good vision is necessary for your cat or dog’s quality of life. 

If you suspect your pet has eye issues, do not hesitate to consult with a Wales Animal Clinic veterinarian. Many common eye diseases can be managed with timely treatment and help ensure your pet’s future looks bright.