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Ophthalmology

Ophthalmic examination of the cat is different to other species, even dogs. Initially the cat is observed from a distance in order to assess the nature and severity of the ocular problem.

If appropriate, the cat should be allowed to move freely about the consulting room; this provides a very crude method of assessing vision.

For a detailed examination of the lens, vitreous and fundus, instillation of a mydriatic is essential. This is because, in comparison to the dog, the pupil of normal cats responds briskly and more completely to bright light and the pupil shape changes from round to a narrow vertical slit, resulting in a very limited field of view. Tropicamide 1% is the drug of choice.

A thorough examination of the eye includes examination of the eyelids, cornea (including fluorescein staining; schirmer tear test and tonometry), iris, lens, vitreous and fundus.

Examination of periorbital structures is used to check for any facial swellings associated with periorbital abscesses, fractures, or neoplasia. An examination of the mouth is conducted to examine for draining abscesses or protruding tumours.


  • Neuro-ophthalmology examination
  • Congenital eye diseases
  • Diseases of the retina
  • Diseases of the lens
  • Diseases of the iris
  • Diseases of the cornea
  • Diseases of the eyelids

    Common eye diseases

    Conjunctivitis Anterior uveitis Cataract
    Corneal sequestrum Entropion Distichiasis
    Glaucoma Corneal ulcers Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
    Progressive retinal atrophy Horner’s syndrome Eosinophilic keratitis
    Iris melanoma Ciliary adenoma Ocular lymphosarcoma
    Lipid aqueous

    Gallery pictorial


    Ocular manifestations of systemic disease

    Causes Prevalence Blepharitis Conjunctivitis Keratitis Ant Uveitis Lens Chorioretinitis Central blindness
    Viral diseases
    FeLV + ++ ++
    FIV + + +
    FIP + + +
    Herpes virus + + + +?
    Calicivirus + +
    Feline Panleucopenia +/- + ++
    Bacterial diseases
    Chlamydia spp + + +
    Mycoplasma spp + +
    Tuberculosis + + +
    Tetanus +/- Nictitans membrane protrusion
    Parasites
    Toxocara spp +/- +
    Dirofilaria spp +/- +
    Demodex spp +/- +
    Thelazia spp +/- +
    Fly larvae +/- + +
    Protozoa
    Toxoplasma spp ++ +++ ++
    Leishmania spp +/- +
    Mycoplasma spp +/- +
    Fungal diseases
    Cryptococcus spp +/- +
    Histoplasma spp +/- + +
    Blastomyces spp +
    Coccidioides spp +/- +
    Microsporum spp + +
    Rhinosporidiosis spp? +/- +
    Immune mediated
    Pemphigus + +
    Allergy + +
    Cardiovascular
    Hypertension ++ ++
    Hyperviscosity syndrome + +
    DIC + +
    Metabolic
    Diabetes mellitus +/- +/- +/-
    hyperthyroidism + +
    Hyperlipidemia +/- + +
    Hyperparathyroidism +/- +
    Hepatic encephalopathy + +
    Mucopolysaccharidosis +/- + + +
    Deficiencies
    Taurine deficiency + Degeneration
    Thiamine deficiency +/- Degeneration
    Arginine deficiency +/- +
    Nervous system diseases
    Dysautonomia ++ Lachrymal hyposecretion Mydriasis
    Spongiform encephalopathy +/- +

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