Symptoms of Eye Problems
Pets can develop many of the same problems with eyes that affect their human owners. Eye problems in both dogs and cats thus range from minor, self-limiting nuances that go away on their own to progressive eye conditions that can seriously affect vision and even lead to blindness. For that reason it is very important to pay attention to signs and symptoms that may indicate an eye problem and know when to seek veterinary help.
Identifying Eye Problems in Dogs
Healthy eyes in dogs are bright and clear. The area surrounding the eyeball is white and pupils are of equal size. There should be no discharge, crusts in the corners or tearing, all of which signal that something is wrong. Other signs and symptoms of eye problems in dogs include eye redness, fully or partially closed eye (or both eyes), visible third eyelid, color change, cloudiness, pupils of different sizes and tear stains on fur.
If your dog has any of the mentioned signs of eye problems or if you notice any other worrisome changes involving the eyes, you should take him to a vet for examination as soon as possible. It could be nothing but it could also be an eye infection requiring prescription drops to make it go away. Sometimes, however, eye discharge, tearing, redness and other seemingly harmless symptoms are signaling a potentially serious underlying condition affecting the eyes including cataract, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy, to mention only a few. If left untreated, some of these conditions can cause permanent eye damage which may also include the loss of sight. And once the damage is done, it is almost always irreversible.
Just like the eyes of their canine counterparts, healthy cat’s eyes are always bright and clear. Likewise, the area surrounding the eyeball is white and pupils are equal in size. If you notice symptoms such as crusts in the corners, tear stains, partially or fully closed eye (or both eyes), visible third eyelid, redness, tearing/watering, color change or cloudiness, your cat has an eye problem which should be evaluated by your vet. As soon as possible!
In addition to the obvious symptoms that something isn’t right, eye problems in cats (and dogs too!) can also be indicated by behavioral changes and body language such as frequent pawing of the eyes, blinking and squinting. These as well as the symptoms mentioned above can indicate a number of eye problems and conditions. Some of the most common ones include conjunctivitis or pinkeye, glaucoma, keratitis, retinal disease and third eyelid protrusion.
Treatment of eye problems in cats depends on the underlying cause. Just like in dogs, many eye problems in cats don’t need any special treatment, while others are successfully managed with appropriate eye drops. Some, however, may require more invasive treatment including surgery. Talk to your vet about treatment options for your pet including the risk of complications, prognosis and follow-up care.