Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Eye Cleaning

Cats with normal eye health do not require regular eye cleansing.cat_eyes

Regular cleaning may be advised if the:

  • Cat has an eye infection
  • Cat has a head conformation with prominent eyes, short muzzle and domed head (brachycephalic)
  • Cat has scarring or blockage of the tear duct (these normally drain the tears away from the eye)
  • Cat has pigmented tear staining

Here are some tips:

  • Your veterinarian will advise you regarding suitable cleaning solutions. Frequently, a sterile dilute (normal) saline (salt) solution is used (free of preservatives).
  • Make sure you have the cat gently but firmly restrained before cleaning—sudden movement may lead to injury to you or the cat. Wrap a towel around the cat or have an assistant help if needed. Talk to your veterinarian about how to do this procedure first—you do not want to get scratched or bitten do you.
  • When cleansing the eyes of cats, it is important to remember not to be overzealous. Let the cat know that the cleaning cotton/gauze/cloth is coming towards the face, so that the eye is closed. An open eye may be scratched, resulting in corneal ulceration a hole in the clear eye surface). Come from the side and above though so you don't give the cat the impression there is a head-on attack coming and make him think he is about to be hit in the eye!
  • Be gentle in the pressure you apply to the area around the eye—this is sensitive territory.
  • Apply a sweeping motion with the moistened cloth in a down and outward (away from the nose) direction. Never use an inward motion as this may drive dirt into the eyeball.
  • If there is dermatitis or skin irritation associated with the discharge located at the lower inside corner of the eye (medial canthus), after cleansing apply a moisture barrier with or without antibiotic (as prescribed) to help protect the sensitive skin from the pooling of eye discharges.
  • Clean the eye before instilling medications.

Steady the head firmly but gently then apply the moistened cloth or cotton.


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