Corneal Ulcers in Cats

corneal ulcer in catWhat is a Corneal Ulcer?

The cornea is the clear membrane on the surface of the eyeball. The cornea has three layers. The outermost layer is known as the epithelium and is very thin. Below the epithelial layer, there is a layer known as the stroma. The stroma is the supportive layer of the cornea. The deepest layer is known as the Descemet’s membrane. All of these layers are clear so when a veterinary specialist or surgeon is looking at the eye, the membrane must be stained. A corneal ulcer is essentially a hole in the epithelial and stroma membrane.

Are There Any Breeds More Prone to Corneal Ulcers?

No, there are no feline breeds more prone to corneal ulcers.


A cat with a corneal ulcer is likely to appear to have a cloudy eye. The cat may also experience:

  • Excessive eye rubbing due to pain
  • Excessive squinting
  • Excessive blinking
  • Eye discharge

Causes of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

The most common cause of a corneal ulcer is trauma. The cat may have rubbed against a rough object or been clawed in a fight. Chemical burns may also cause a corneal ulcer. If your cat’s body reacted poorly with a certain shampoo or had dust or drywall get in his eye, this could also cause a corneal ulcer.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Corneal ulcers in cats are generally not visible to the naked eye. A veterinarian will use a special stain to detect the ulcer. If your cat is found to have a corneal ulcer, surgery may be recommended to protect the eye. The surgeon will suture the third eyelid over the ulcer to protect the area from further damage and promote healing.

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