Pet Ophthalmology: Common Eye Problems in Pets and How to Treat Them

Our pets can’t tell us when something’s bothering them, so pet owners need to be aware of common health issues that can affect their furry friends. One often overlooked area of pet health is their eyes. From infections to cataracts, pets can suffer from various eye problems that require veterinary care. 

Common Eye Problems in Pets

This article will discuss some common eye issues in dogs and cats, how they are treated, and how pet owners can work with their vet to maintain their pet’s eye health.

Common Eye Problems in Dogs and Cats

Your pet may encounter several common eye issues, such as:

  1. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids and the white part of the eye. Irritants like smoke, bacteria, or allergies can cause it. Symptoms include redness, discharge, and swelling. Treatment usually involves eye drops and ointments prescribed by your vet.
  2. Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when the tear glands don’t produce enough tears to moisten the eye. Symptoms include redness, irritation, and a thick discharge. In severe cases, ulcers may develop on the cornea. Treatment usually involves daily eye drops or ointments to provide the necessary moisture.
  3. Corneal ulcers are painful sores on the transparent outer layer of the eye. They may be caused by trauma or, in some cases, infections. Signs include squinting, redness, and watery discharge. Treatment will depend on the cause of the ulcer and may include antibiotic or antifungal drops, anti-inflammatory drops, or even surgery in severe cases.
  4. Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eye’s lens that can impair vision. They may develop as a result of aging, diabetes, or genetics. Treatment may include surgery to replace the affected lens with an artificial one.
  5. Glaucoma is when the pressure inside the eye increases, damaging the optic nerve and leading to vision loss if left untreated. Signs include redness, pain, and bulging eyes. Treatment can involve medication, surgery, or a combination of both.

The Importance of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Many eye problems in pets are related to underlying health issues, so it’s crucial to maintain your pet’s overall health to prevent or manage eye problems. Veterinary internal medicine specialists can diagnose and treat various illnesses, from metabolic disorders to infectious diseases, which can all impact your pet’s eyes.

When to Seek Veterinary Ocular Care

It’s essential to keep an eye on your pet’s eye health and learn more about when to seek veterinary ocular care. Signs that your pet may be experiencing an eye problem include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Excessive tearing or discharge
  • Squinting or sensitivity to light
  • Bulging eyes

If you notice these signs, consult your vet to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Emergency Veterinary Care: When to Seek Urgent Vet Care

Some eye issues, like corneal ulcers or glaucoma, can worsen rapidly if left untreated. It’s crucial to recognize when an eye problem requires urgent vet care. Signs that your pet needs immediate attention include:

  • Severe pain or distress
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Protruding or dislodged eyeball
  • A foreign object embedded in the eye

Don’t hesitate to contact your vet or an emergency animal clinic as soon as possible in these situations.

Protecting Your Pet’s Eyes: Comprehensive Pet Services

Preventing eye problems in your pet involves regular checkups, attention to their overall health, and prompt veterinary care when necessary. Work closely with your vet to ensure that your pet receives appropriate vaccinations, dental care, and routine exams that can identify and address potential eye issues. By monitoring your pet’s health, you can help them maintain good vision and comfortable life.


Canine and feline ophthalmology are essential to your pet’s overall health. Understanding common eye problems, seeking timely treatment, and managing underlying health issues can help protect your pet’s eyes. With the support of a qualified vet, you can ensure your pet’s eyes remain healthy and comfortable.

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