Eye Prolapse in Cats: Everything You Need to Know

Eye prolapse in a cat (when the eye has jumped out of its cavity) is an acute condition that can occur after an injury, such as a bite or head injury. The situation requires quick action if the eye and vision are to be saved, which unfortunately is not always possible.

The condition is also called proptosis.


In the event of a bite or head injury, the eye is pushed out through the eye socket, so that the eyeball ends up in a locked position outside the eyelids. In connection with the injury, the optic nerve can be damaged so that the eye becomes blind, the eye muscles are torn over or damaged, bleeding can occur inside the eye and not least, the eye can dry out and cause serious damage to the cornea.

Blunt-nosed (brachycephala) individuals are more prone to this type of injury because they have a more open eye socket and a tendency to protruding eyes. In some individuals, prolapse of the eye may occur spontaneously, that is, without cause.


The condition occurs acutely, usually in connection with an injury such as a bite, a collision or if the cat becomes trapped. The eye is suddenly completely or partially outside the eye socket. It is usually a painful condition and bleeding can be seen in or around the eye.

The situation requires immediate treatment and surgery if there is to be a chance to preserve the eye. A specialist should therefore be contacted as soon as possible via the animal hospital. It is important that the eye is kept moist at all times, lubricating eye drops are best, but alternatively isotonic saline can be used. Avoid touching the eyeball.


The veterinarian can often make a diagnosis after a short examination, when the extent of the damage is assessed and the chance of preserving the eye and vision. Protruding eyes (exopthalmos), infection / abscess behind the eye or glaucoma (glaucoma) can cause similar symptoms as prolapse.


The eye must be placed in the eye socket as soon as possible, which means surgery under general anesthesia. Meanwhile, lubricate the eye with drops. The operation involves lifting the eyelids over the eyeball and carefully placing the eye back in the cavity. Then 3-4 stitches are placed in the eyelid to protect the eye, by keeping the eyelids closed for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes even antibiotics are given. If the damage is very extensive and, for example, several eye muscles have been torn over, or the eye is completely punctured, it may be possible to completely remove the eye. Most cats work very well with vision in one eye only.


According to studies, most of these patients lose sight of the affected eye. Often, the eye can still be preserved in the eye socket, even though the eye is blind and the eye specialist decides in consultation with the owner, which solution is best for the patient. It is not always possible to determine until after a couple of weeks, whether the cat has lost his sight or not.


If it is a race or an individual who is predisposed to this injury, you can do a small plastic surgery on both eyes. The opening between the eyelids is then made smaller, which protects the eye and the risk of prolapse is reduced.

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