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Caring for Your Cat’s Eyes: Understanding Cherry Eye in Cats

Cherry Eye in Cats: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery

Caring for a cat can be challenging, especially when they develop certain health issues. One such problem that may arise in your feline friend is cherry eye.

If you’re a cat owner, it’s important that you become familiar with this condition so you can recognize the signs and know how to help your cat get the treatment they need. In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of the cat’s eye, the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of cherry eye in cats.

Anatomy of the Eye

To understand cherry eye, we must first have a basic knowledge of the anatomy of a cats eye. Dont worry; you dont have to be a veterinarian to understand it.

The cat’s eye is composed of many different parts, including the iris, pupil, lens, retina, cornea, eyelids, and tear glands. These components work together to allow your cat to see properly.

The eyelids of the cat are particularly important since they help protect the eyes from foreign objects and regulate the amount of light entering the eye.

Symptoms of Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is easy to spot due to its distinctive pink swelling that protrudes from the cats inner eyelid. Besides the visible swelling, you may also notice a discharge or increased eye rubbing in your cat.

If your cat is rubbing their eyes excessively, it may result in further irritation and inflammation.

Causes of Cherry Eye

Cherry eye occurs when the connective fibers that hold the gland in place become weakened, causing it to pop out of its normal location. This gland, also known as the tear gland, helps your cat produce tears to lubricate their eyes.

Possible causes of cherry eye in cats include weak connective fibers, weak eyelid cartilage, or the presence of a mass in the third eyelid that pushes the gland out of place.

Diagnosis of Cherry Eye

The first step to diagnosing cherry eye in your cat involves a thorough ocular examination performed by a veterinarian. Additional tests may be performed, such as tonometry or Schirmer’s test, to check for any underlying eye conditions or to evaluate the tear production of the eye.

Treatment of Cherry Eye

The most common treatment for cherry eye is surgical correction. During the procedure, the veterinarian will create a conjunctival tissue pocket to reposition the gland in its proper location.

Eye medications may also be prescribed following surgery to treat any associated infections or inflammation.

Recovery and Management of Cherry Eye

The recovery time for cherry eye surgery varies depending on the severity of the condition. Keep in mind that complications such as infection or recurrence can occur and may require additional treatment.

If complications arise, the veterinarian may refer your cat to a veterinary eye specialist for further treatment.

Cherry Eye in Cats – Frequently Asked Questions

Persistence of Cherry Eye

Sometimes, cherry eye can persist even after surgical correction. In that case, another surgery may be necessary to correct the issue.

Surgery Costs

The cost of cherry eye repair may vary depending on the severity of the condition, and may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Be sure to discuss all costs with your veterinarian before undergoing any treatment.

Contagion of Cherry Eye

Fortunately, cherry eye is not contagious and cannot be passed on from one cat to another.

Consequences of Untreated Cherry Eye

If left untreated, cherry eye can lead to reduced tear production, which can lead to a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) or dry eye. In some cases, the use of eye products or medications may be necessary to treat these conditions.


As a cat owner, it’s essential to be informed about the various health issues that may arise in your furry friend. While cherry eye may seem like a minor problem, it can lead to complications if left untreated.

Be sure to take your cat to the vet if you notice any eye issues, as prompt treatment can make all the difference. Cherry eye is a condition that can affect cats of all ages, and it is essential for pet owners to know how to recognize the symptoms and seek proper treatment.

Weak connective fibers, weak eyelid cartilage, and masses in the third eyelid are some of the main causes of cherry eye, which can lead to complications such as reduced tear production and KCS or dry eye if left untreated. Surgery correction is the most common treatment for cherry eye, and recovery time varies depending on the severity of the condition.

The cost of treatment may range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, but prompt attention is essential. Overall, maintaining your cat’s eye health is essential in ensuring their overall wellbeing, so recognizing and promptly addressing cherry eye is crucial in preserving their health and happiness.

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