Cat Third Eyelid Questions

Cat Eyes

by Crystal

photo by Editor B

photo by Editor B


I have a 9 year old cat. His eye looks like the second eye lid (white one) may have gotten torn, and it is on his eye, blocking his vision. It is on the bottom. When he blinks or moves, it also moves. It looks fairly thick.

Thank You,

Hi, Crystal,

Anytime a cat's third eyelid protrudes, it indicates something is not quite right. It can be a primary eye problem or it can be a sign that the cat is sick from a number of other possible conditions.

The appearance that you describe certainly sounds like a primary eye problem, in fact a primary third eyelid problem. He definitely needs to be seen by a vet. Not only is the third eyelid appear to be damaged and need attention, but this is no doubt uncomfortable for him, AND the movement of the eyelid torn edge (if it is indeed torn) across the cornea could irritate or even ulcerate the cornea.

I hope you can have him seen by the veterinarian right away and that everything works out for both of you.

Thank you for writing,
Dr. Neely

Return to Cat Eye Infection and other Cat Eye Problems.

Second Eyelid Protrusion Issues

by Erin
(Cleveland, Ohio)

When I found my cat, he was about 8 weeks old and had feline herpes virus. Due to poor nutrition and overall bad health, his eyes really took a hit. Now, he is about 3 years old and in his left eye, his second eyelid is constantly protruding from the bottom right of his eye. It is always leaking red fluid (similar to the fluid seen in dogs that have squished faces or short muzzles). I have to wipe his face on a daily basis and at times it is very inflamed and looks painful. He will just lean into the cool paper towel to try to alleviate the irritation. I took him to a cat eye specialist and she said she had never seen this with a cat. My question is, is there any kind of anti-inflammatory eye drop or plain old anti-inflammatory medication that I could give him to relieve him of his discomfort? I feel so bad that there is nothing I can really do for him but wipe his face. I could add a picture if it is needed but I don't have one at the moment.

Dear Erin,

A picture of your cat’s eye condition would certainly help me to provide the best recommendation. However, a veterinary ophthalmologist should be able to provide the best information. If it has not been done already, your cat’s ocular pressure should be tested before beginning any new treatment regimen, as cats can have high or low ocular pressure associated with some eye conditions which can be worsened by some cat eye treatments.

To answer your question, however, there are definitely medications that work as an anti-inflammatory that can help certain eye conditions. Sometimes these medications are given orally or as eye drops or both.

If, however, the inflammation you are seeing in your cat’s eye is the result of a feline herpes virus flare-up, the condition would likely be better treated with anti-viral medications.

If there is a secondary bacterial infection, antibiotics may be necessary.

If it is a bacterial infection or viral infection, anti-inflammatories can be dangerous. Only a veterinarian who is very familiar with cat eye conditions and who can actually examine your cat's eye can make this decision and dispense the appropriate medication.

The other possibility is that there is no active infection or inflammation right now, but the condition is the result of a prior herpes infection that has left your kitty with blocked tear ducts. This will cause tears to constantly spill onto the face and as the natural bacteria on the skin and fur of the cat degrade the tears, the by-product is of a reddish color.

In cases where the condition is simply a blocked tear duct, the treatment is simply doing what you are doing and wiping the discharge away on a daily basis.

Without knowing the exact condition or exact cause of the eye problem you are describing, I cannot say the best way to treat your cat. The things you are doing, however, to help alleviate his discomfort are all ideal. I would recommend finding another specialist for recommendations.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

Return to Cat Eye Infection and other Cat Eye Problems.