Dry Eye Syndrome In Cats: What Do You Need To Know About It?


Severe inflammation and drying of the cornea of a cat and conjunctiva may be attributed to the medical condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is characterized by a deficiency of the aqueous tear film above the surface of the eye, as well as in the lining of the lids, the condition is also called dry eye syndrome in cats. Even though keratoconjunctivitis sicca is relatively rare in cats, there are some suspicion that the females might be more susceptible to the malady than in males. In this article, we will be discussing further what dry eye syndrome in cats really is. Get to learn more about it –read on to this article.

Dry Eye Syndrome in Cats: What is this feline eye condition?

If a cat shows evidence of dry eye syndrome, schedule an appointment with a vet. The treatment might be as simple as eye drops. Or, for austere cases, veterinarians may refer you to a vet ophthalmologist. This type of animal doctor is an ocular expert who has extensive knowledge of eye disorders.

Moreover, dry eye syndrome in cats occurs because of a deficiency in tear production and is known as keratoconjunctivitis (KCS). Two characteristics of this ailment are swollen eyelids and altered corneal pigmentation. Treatment involves eye hydration or correction of the root cause through drugs or surgery.

Causes of Cat Dry Eye Syndrome

The causes of dry eye syndrome in cats may vary. Moreover, frequent contributors of which include adverse effects from medications, trauma, and illness. Moreover, female cats have a much higher risk of acquiring the condition. Accordingly, unlike any other cat conditions, the triggers are easy to identify.


  • NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
  • Aneshesia, injections, or gases from pain sensitivity
  • Toxins or atropines used in muscle relaxants


  • Contact with beams from radiologic device
  • Injury on the central nervous system
  • Removal; of the third eyelid


  • Dry nose –a state wherein this area stays arid
  • Neurological disease that disrupts the nerves in the tear gland
  • Immune-facilitated diseases, which lower immune defenses
  • Chlamydiosis –a bacterium, which infect the respiratory system
  • Systemic disease, which affect several body organs
  • Cat flu or feline herpesvirus

Symptoms of Cat Dry Eye Syndrome

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome in cats reflect via the cat’s eye mechanisms. From its lashes to its ducts, the systems malfunction. Further, they also hurt. As a result, the cat’s emotional state changes. Here are the common indicators of cat dry eye syndrome:


  • Squinting
  • Depression
  • Irritability


  • Corneal ulcers
  • Protruding eyelids
  • Excessive eye blinking
  • Blindness or impaired vision
  • Swollen blood vessels
  • Eye mucus

The cats with eye syndrome need immediate care. Aside from discomfort, they may also face life-changing side effects when there is no treatment applied. Therefore, seek some medical assistance as soon as it is possible.

Prognosis of Cat Dry Eye Syndrome

Diagnosing dry eye syndrome in cats is comprehensive. The vet must discover the origins of this ailment to determine an appropriate treatment plan. To reach this goal, he must give your pet a thorough exam. Expect the following: 

  • Fluorescein eye stain: The vet puts orange dye into your cat’s eye and, with a blue light, looks for cornea damage.
  • Aqueous fluid sample: The collection of watery fluid produced by the aqueous humor. This agent carries proteins that keep a cat’s eye moist. At times, it also falls prey to harmful bacteria.
  • Schirmer’s tear test: The placement of paper strips in your cat’s eyes to detect dryness or tear production.
  • Ophthalmic exam: A series of tests that obtain data on your cat’s vision and eye health.

Treatment for Cat Dry Eye

Treatment for dry eye syndrome in cats depends on the underlying cause. A family vet can cure mild cases of this ailment. For more severe of dry eye syndrome in cats, you must take your cat to a veterinary ophthalmologist. He may perform a surgery and offer extensive care for irreversible symptoms. 

  • Antibiotic eye ointment: The vet may prescribe this substance to treat a bacterial infection.
  • Eye lubricant: To hydrate your cat’s eyes, the vet may prescribe liquid drops or an ointment.
  • Parotid duct transposition. Through surgery, the vet reroutes the aqueous ducts. This procedure allows saliva to replace tears. Since saliva irritates the eyes of some cats, he may require additional therapy.
  • Topical corticosteroid: This cream reduces inflammation. Use is for swollen tissue on or around your cat’s eyes.

All treatment options for dry eye syndrome involve follow-up visits. Timelines differ based on severity. Ask your vet for specifics especially when your cat suffers from another illness. 

Unless there is a secondary disease that calls for hospitalization, your cat will be treated on an outpatient basis. Topical medications, such as artificial-tear medication and possibly a lubricant can be prescribed and administered to compensate for your cat’s lack of tears. You will need to be sure to clean your cat’s eyes before you administer the medication, along with keeping the eyes clean and free of dried discharge. Some patients with KCS are predisposed to severe corneal ulceration, so you will need to call your veterinarian at once if the pain increases so that it can be treated before serious injury occurs.


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