Exophthalmos in Cats
Is not only a very painful condition but what it does to their face is the real concern

Exophthalmos in cats can severely alter the face of your pet and can be extremely unnerving to owners.

It can affect cats at any age and the actual severity will depend on the underlying cause.

It if is left untreated, it can cause a failure of your pets eye lids to close when they sleep which can lead to a corneal dryness and damage.

If this damage continues, it can inflame the cornea as the result of increased blinking. However, it can also compress the optic nerve and which could cause your cat to go blind.

If is it cancer and it cannot be treated, it can take your cats life.

Exophthalmos in cats is the forward movement of your pet’s eyeball that causes it to sit in an abnormal position in the eye socket.


It literally looks like your cat’s eye is about to burst entirely out of its socket.

However, despite the severity in appearance, your cat’s eye is not becoming larger.

This situation can easily be confused with a condition that is referred to as proptosis where your cat’s eye ball is no longer in its socket and the eyelids roll behind the eye instead of in front of it.


There are several symptoms that you can watch for in the developing stages, and if they are recognized early enough, it may just save your cats vision.

The first symptom will be the actual swelling of the eyelid or bruising simply by something that has barely touched it.

The next symptom to watch for with Exophthalmos in cats will be any type of an ocular discharge.

Ocular discharges should be treated very seriously as they are almost always one of the first signs of an eye disease of some type in your cat.

These types of discharges can occur suddenly, or they can start very slowly and build in severity.

There are several forms of discharge that you will need to watch for. The first may be just a watery type of discharge that seems innocent but can quickly lead to the next form of discharge.

This form is where your cats eyes are discharging fluids that can be gray in color with a thin liquid, or they can be a yellow-green coloration that is very thick in substance.

However, the most serious discharge will be red or bloody in color. It is extremely important to remember that all forms are signs that something is happening to your cat’s eyes.

The next symptom to watch for is a swelling and then a drying of your cats conjunctive which will generally lead to red eye.

Red eye is a sign of an inflammation or an infection of the eye that is generally associated with diseases of the external eyelids, the third eyelid, the cornea, or the sclera.

Green Eyes in catsIf Exophthalmos in cats is severe enough they may lose an eye

It can also occur with glaucoma which places a tremendous pressure on your cat’s eyes.

They become red in color when the blood vessels in your cats eyes become larger in size or in quantity.

The next set of symptoms to watch for in Exophthalmos in cats will be a protrusion of the third eye lid which almost always leads to an abnormal forward position of your cats’ eye.

protrusion of your cats third eyelid, also called TE, is where this eyelid becomes elevated.

The third eyelid in a normal situation is retracted beneath the eyelids and is very hard to actually see.

If they do become elevated and start to protrude, something is not right with your cat’s eyes.

However, the two most telling symptoms will be where your cat starts to have a lot of difficulty in actually closing their eyes and the eyelids look like they no longer fit.

The reason is quite simple; they do not fit correctly at this point.

This is fully confirmed when your cat also starts to have difficulty in eating or opening their mouth.


There are several potential causes of exophthalmos in cats, and none of them are good.

The most common cause of this condition is cancer that is either starting to develop or is developed behind your cat’s eye. This development is the most common cause in older cats.

An abscess or an infection of some type is the next general cause and it is usually an infection that is affecting the soft tissues that surround your pet’s eyes.

It most all cases it will eventually work its way behind the eye, causing the protrusion.

It sounds somewhat confusing, but most of this infection migrates from your cats mouth or as an extension from the roots of the teeth, usually from the upper portion of their mouth.

This is why one of the of the most telling symptoms will be where your cat stops eating or seems to have trouble opening their mouth, as it is all related.

There are a few occasions where an infection can and does migrate from other parts of the body, but the most common cause is from the mouth.

The next common cause of Exophthalmos in cats is from bleeding or some type of a hemorrhage that is occurring behind your pet eyes.

A hemorrhage in your cat is almost always the result of some type of a traumatic injury and is by far more common in cats that roam freely rather than cats that are primarily indoor pets.


The treatments for Exophthalmos in cats will vary significantly depending of the actual underlying cause.

If your cat has become dehydrated as a result of this infection, they may need intravenous fluid therapy, but this is rare.

Oral antibiotics will be used for infections and if severe, your cat may have to have the infection or the abscess drained.

Lubricant ointments as well as antibiotic ointments will be used in most cases to protect your cat’s cornea.

It also protects against a corneal ulceration which can cause your cat to lose their sight.

There are some treatments for cancer if the tumors are lymphosarcoma or mast cell tumors as they will be treated with chemotherapy.

In some cases, your cat’s eye may have to be removed.

In cases that are extreme there will be no effective treatment or the treatment is extremely expensive and not always successful.

In these cases, euthanasia may be the only option.


Exophthalmos in cats is at best a very scary situation, but in most cases it can be treated successfully.

The key is to watch closely for the symptoms, especially any type of a discharge, and catch it as early as you can.

If you can catch it in the early stages you may not only save your cat’s sight but their life as well.

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