Entropion is a condition in which a portion of a cat’s eyelid is turned inward against the eyeball rather than lying flush around it. It is a relatively uncommon problem in cats, and when it does occur it is not life-threatening. However, it can cause significant irritation, infections, and may affect your cat’s ability to see normally. In many cases, a cat will require surgery to return the eyelid to its normal position.
Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of entropion in cats.
Causes of Entropion in Cats
Entropion can occur in either the upper or lower eyelids, but in cats it usually occurs in the lower eyelids. Unlike dogs, cats rarely inherit the condition, though breeds with short, round faces -- such as the Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese -- are at risk because the anatomy of the face may cause the eyelid to push inward.
Though entropion may be present in some cats at birth, it is more likely to develop later in life due to changes in the condition of the eye or an underlying medical issue. Common problems that can cause the eyelid to turn inward include:
- Corneal ulcerations, which cause spasms of the eyelid due to pain
- Feline herpes virus, which can lead to eye ulcers and corneal issues
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye), which can cause swelling and eyelid spasms
- Enophthalmos, which is a condition in which the eyeball sinks back into the socket
Symptoms of Entropion in Cats
Common symptoms of entropion in cats include:
- Change in eyelid appearance
- Inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelid
- Eye redness
- Thick discharge
- Rubbing eyes
- Rolling eyes
Treatment of Entropion in Cats
Visit your veterinarian if your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform an ocular examination to assess the position of the eyelid. Your vet may also use fluorescein dye to check for any corneal ulcers that may have resulted from the cat’s eyelashes rubbing against the cornea. Additional tests may be carried out to determine the underlying cause of the condition.
Any underlying medical cause (such the herpes virus or conjunctivitis) should be treated first, and may resolve the problem. In most cases, however, an affected cat will require additional treatment. Common treatment options include:
- Artificial tears may be used to manage mild cases in which the corneas are not ulcerated.
- Ulcerated corneas and secondary infections are treated with oral or topical antibiotics.
- An Elizabethan collar may be used to prevent a cat from scratching or rubbing their eyes until any irritation has subsided.
- Temporary measures to try to reverse the condition include eyelid “tacking” and bandage contact lenses. Eyelid tacking involves the placement of sutures that pull the eyelid outward. They are typically left in for 7 to 10 days. Bandage contact lenses cover the cornea to help it heal and protect it from eyelash rubbing.
- Surgery is required in most cases. Surgery involves rolling the eyelid outward to its normal position by removing an elliptical piece of skin. It is important that any veterinarian who performs this procedure has the appropriate qualifications as over-correction can result in an eyelid that rolls excessively outward or cannot close.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual after a procedure or during treatment.
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