Cloudy eyes in cats is not just an irritant to your pet, it can and often is the first signs that there is something very wrong with them. It is also a condition that is much different then red eyes, and as such the last thing you want to do is use eye drops. Human eyes drops, especially Visine that is designed for redness or irritation, should never be used until the underlying cause of this potentially very dangerous condition is determined.
What are cloudy eyes?
Cloudy eyes in cats are exactly what it suggests; cloudiness or an increased opacity in your pets eyes. It is most often associated with a reduction in the transparency of several parts of the eyes including the cornea, the lens of the eyes, or the fluid media that is actually in your cats eyes. It can best be described as a film like appearance that has suddenly covered your cats eyes as well as an increased cloudy appearance in the whites of their eyes.
However, contrary to a lot of misconception, it does not always cause a reduction in your cats vision. Regardless of this fact, it is still a very dangerous situation and falls into four different categories.
Cloudy eyes in cats have some very distinctive symptoms that you can watch for and the first and most obvious is a physical change. This change can affect only one eye or both eyes and may or may not affect your cats vision. If it does affect their vision, you will see your cats behavior start to change as they will bump into objects, avoid objects, or in some cases, be very reluctant to move.
In most cases, you will see the next symptom, which is squinting. Some of the underlying causes of this condition are not painful, but most of them are, and as a result, your cat will begin to squint. You may also see some discharge coming from your cats eyes, but like the redness, it does not always occur.
Different Categories and Causes:
The first category of cloudy eyes in cats is filming over of the cornea, and most owners are absolutely shocked at the numerous conditions that can cause this. The first potential cause is from ulceration, or a bacterial, yeast, or a fungal infection. If the underlying cause is considered to be congenital or from birth, it can eventually start to scar your cats cornea, which causes the clouding to occur. It may also be the result of your cat in-rolling their eyelids or from some type of foreign invasion.
A foreign invasion or attack would include drying of the cornea, heat or smoke that has affected the cornea, or an injury or trauma. However, it could also be the result of a corneal inflammation from the inadequate production of tears, also known as dry eye syndrome. A lipid disposition can also build over time and result in cloudiness from a lipid disease or other types of corneal diseases. It can also be the result of what is referred to as corneal edema, which occurs in older cats, as well as from glaucoma.
Cloudy eyes in cats can also be the result of problems in the aqueous humor, which is fluid that circulates in the front chamber of the eyes. Some type of inflammation, most commonly uveitis, can cause this film to develop, as well as a hemorrhage that has occurred. If your cat has a leakage of fatty tissue into their eye form their bloodstream, it also causes cloudiness to suddenly appear. If there is any type of an abnormal movement of your cat lens in this front chamber, such as a cataract developing, it also will start the clouding process.
However, there are still a couple of other potential causes; collapse of the chamber or a tumor. A collapse of this chamber which is caused by the movement of the iris toward the front of the eye can also be the underlying cause. A tumor can also trigger this condition and is first sign you will see is the clouding of your cats eyes.
Changes of the lens:
Whitening of the lens can also cause cloudy eyes in cats, and this almost always signals one thing if you understand and know what to watch for in this development; cataracts are beginning to form. However, it may also be the result of a disorder of the vitreous body in your cats eye, which is a gelatin like fluid that is between your cats lens and retina. Disorders are caused by inflammation that has occurred or something even more sinister, a hemorrhage that has occurred.
Changes of the vitreous:
The final potential underlying cause of cloudy eyes in cats is with the vitreous. The vitreous humor, also known as the vitreous, is the clear glassy sticky material that is within your cats eye. Believe it or not, its actual function in the eye to this day is still not fully understood, but there is one thing that is. When this gel separates from the retina, your cats eyes not only become cloudy, they also start to experience floaters or flashes in their eyes.
If your cat starts to suddenly act very strange, the first thing you should do is to check for cloudy eyes. This floating or flashing can make them very uncomfortable, but it can also mean that a hemorrhage has developed or some type of detachment has occurred.
What you can do:
Cloudy eyes should be treated with a real sense of urgency. Once you have identified the condition and it has been treated, you will need to carefully watch your cats eyes. You will have to check them at least twice a day to watch for any reoccurring symptoms, as well as watch for any signs of a vision loss. You may also have to make sure they do not rub their eyes, as this can easily cause additional trauma to occur. If you have to use an Elizabethan collar; do it.
However, the most important thing you can do is to not use any type of eye medications in the discovery or the recovery stages. Only use them if they are recommended by your veterinarian but allow them to make this call. If the underlying cause is a tumor or a rupture of some kind, the results could be catastrophic for your cat.
Cloudy eyes in cats are a real threat and once identified, you need to seek immediate medical attention form a professional. It is anything but normal and is something that will not go away in a few days. It is a very serious development in your cat and should not be ignored.