I Only Have Eyes For You!

January is National Eye Care Month, so this is a great time to think about our pet’s eyes.

Their eyes should be clear and bright, pupils equal in size, the area around eyeball pure white, and the lower lid should be pink, not red.

If your pet’s eyes have a discharge, the eye color changes, or the eyes appear either sunken or pushed out; it’s time for a vet visit. If your pet is continually pawing or scratching at their eyes, that could mean allergies or an infection like conjunctivitis. If they are squinting, blinking excessively, or swollen, yep, you guessed it; a vet visit is in order.

Here are just some of the more common eye problems that our pets can have.

Glaucoma – both dogs and cats can have this problem, and it is often treatable if you catch it early. It’s more common in dogs (and some breeds are more susceptible than others) than cats.

Trauma – fights, scratches, falls, head out car windows, or foreign material in their eye can all cause problems. Keeping your cat indoors goes a long way in protecting them from eye problems. Many dogs get trauma to their eyes from riding in the car with their heads out the window. Consider goggles or having the window part way up.

Dry eye – both cats and dogs get dry eye, which is called Keratoconjunctivitis (dry eye is a lot easier to say). Dry eye can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, but most of the time it’s caused by immune issues. This is a treatable problem. Dry eye is far more common in dogs than cats.

Infections – conjunctivitis (pink eye) is a very common eye problem. Both cats and dogs can get this or other eye infections, and they are often caused by bacteria or viruses. Some forms of pink eye can be caused by allergies too. It can be contagious; if your pet has any symptoms mentioned above, take your best friend to get checked out.

Cataracts – this is an eye disease where your pet’s lens, which is usually clear, becomes cloudy. The result of cataracts is poor vision or blindness. Cataracts can be caused by aging, diabetes, or even inflammation. Surgery is often an option for cataracts.

Pet eye problems are very difficult to diagnose without your vet’s help. Don’t wait – early diagnosis will help your pet see clearly for years to come.