Which eye drops for cats are the best and most effective? Can I use any over-the-counter drops for my cat? Get all the answers here.
Disclaimer: Information in this post should not be considered medical advice. Only a certified veterinarian can assess your cat’s medical condition and prescribe treatment. Always consult a vet to find the best eye drops for cat herpes, allergies, conjunctivitis, or bacterial infections.
If you’ve ever stared longingly into your furry companion’s eyes, you may have noticed two things: #1 — they have beautiful, enchanting eyes, and #2 — they can 100% beat you in a staring contest. Do they ever blink?!
The reason cats blink so infrequently is a mystery, but we can tell you why cat eyes are so unique. The natural beauty of cat eyes has to do with the shape of their pupils (the black part of the eye). Cats, and some other predators, have vertical pupils. Science says vertical pupils come with a distinct advantage — better low-light and night vision. Since they’re mostly nocturnal, you wouldn’t want to be caught out at night with a hungry feline around.
But no matter how pretty they are, they can still be affected by irritants, pollutants, allergens, and infections. That’s why in this review, we’ll show you how to protect and treat your cat’s eyes with over-the-counter cat eye washes and drops.
What Causes Eye Problems in Cats and What’s the Best Cat Eye Medicine?
Cat eyes are supposed to be clear and bright. If you notice anything different, like discharge or changes in behavior such as rubbing or pawing at the eyes, don’t ignore it. Take discharge as an example. It could be something as benign as allergies or it could be a serious illness.
Eye problems in cats
Conjunctivitis — Commonly known as pink eye, this is an inflammation of the membrane surrounding your cat’s eye. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other things like physical or chemical irritation. Cats with pink eye have red, swollen, teary eyes with a crusty or mucus-like discharge. Vets recommend separating cats with pink eye from other cats and gently wiping away the discharge. In some cases, antibiotic drops or gels may be prescribed.
Infections can also occur in other parts of the eye. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The symptoms are similar to conjunctivitis and the treatment is generally the same — keeping the eyes clear and providing plenty of rest, food and hydration.
Watery and Dry eyes — Watery eyes can be caused by blocked tear ducts, infection, or allergies. Interestingly, dry eyes have the same causes. Both conditions may be associated with a discharge. Depending on the cause, treatment options vary.
Allergies — Although not common in cats, allergic reactions may occur to things like shampoo or detergent. Other airborne allergens (pollutants, seasonal grass/pollen, among others) can also cause serious discomfort for your cat.
“Which symptoms do allergy eye drops for cats treat?”
Regular saline eye drops can help soothe the eye, but something more robust with more active ingredients can quickly relieve symptoms for an extended period of time.
Tear stains — May be completely normal or a side effect of overproduction of tears (watery eyes). These stains normally manifest as streaks or blotches around the eye, face and on the fur and can be easily wiped away with a good eye wash.
As you can see, many of the conditions have symptoms in common, and we would like to reiterate that a call to consult with your vet will save you from worrying about your feline friend.
Is there a “best” cat medicine?
The short answer is — no. There are no magic remedies that can cure every eye problem. The principle of eye washes, drops and rinses is to physically remove any debris or discharge. As a bonus, they reduce symptoms, hydrate the eye and provide relief. Since there are so many choices on the market (and on our list), how do you know what to choose?
It should go without saying that the ingredients in the drops you choose should be safe for cats. All the cat-safe eye drops on our list contain harmless, effective ingredients. Drops are usually water-based and sometimes plant-based. Both are effective and it depends on your preference.
Carefully read the label to ensure you’re buying something that can help with your cat’s symptoms. There are formulas specifically for tear stains and some that can tackle both tear stains and irritation.
An all-animal eye wash intended to relieve irritation. Can be used to flush away foreign material safely. Does not contain any antibiotics, so it can be applied daily until the irritation goes away. Manufactured in the USA.
Dry, itchy eyes can be very unpleasant. These drops are the perfect, safe solution for managing dry eyes. The powerful lubrication, combined with the long-lasting effect make these drops ideal for both mild and chronic conditions.
As the name suggests, this is a natural, plant-based formula. Indications include irritation, foreign debris in the eye, and tear stains. One cool thing about this product is it’s also available in moist, ready-to-use wipes.
Dr. Goodpet Natural Vitamin C & Zinc Eye Drops for Dogs & Cats
All-natural formula that relieves irritation. Includes vitamin C and Zinc. Comes with a convenient dropper so you don’t waste any of the precious liquid. This product is also recommended as a way to prevent tear stains.
What it can be used for: Reducing symptoms of allergy and irritation, removing tear stains
Animals intended for: Cats, dogs, horses
Ingredients: Filtered eyebright extract 2.1%
Volume: Volume: 4 fl. oz. (118 ml)
Natural, plant-based formula
Made in the USA
From the reviews, may not be as effective as other products
The Verdict - So What Are the Best Eye Drops for Cats’ Infections?
Now that we’ve given you some basic information on cat eye health, you should have a better understanding of why it’s so vital to keep an eye on your cat. The number of products on the market is overwhelming, so we hope our list helps you decide which to choose.
And for our final bit of advice — we chose the best product from each category:
Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pet Eye Wash — It’s hard to find something wrong with a product as great as this. It does everything. It soothes tired, itchy eyes, it relieves allergy symptoms and keeps your cat’s coat clean of tear stains.
Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse for Cats — For the kitten category, this wins hands down. The advantage of being able to reduce irritation, wash the eyes and remove tear stains in our smallest furry friends was too much to pass up.
Gold Medal Pets Clean Eyes for Cats — Includes Boric Acid, which has antiseptic properties. The convenient bottle design and advanced formula make it easy to effectively remove any debris and soothe even the most annoying eye irritation.
How to give a cat eye drops?
Clean your hands and get someone to help you administer medicine. Once you wrap the kitty in a towel or blanket, hold her under the chin with your non-dominant hand while using the other to point the drop bottle and pull back the upper eyelid. Aim the drops for the center of the eye and let your cat blink a few times to spread the medicine. Make sure the tip of the bottle does not touch the eye or any other part of the cat.
How much does it cost for a cat vet exam plus eye drops?
The exact price depends on the vet clinic of your choice. A simple exam can cost as little as $50, and you’ll have to spend $10 or more on a bottle of generic eye drops. A more in-depth exam can cost over $200 ($300+ for an emergency appointment). And eye surgery prices start at around $2,000.
What antibiotic is used for cat eye drops?
Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin are the most common antibiotics prescribed by the vets for bacterial eye infections. However, Obramycin and Dexamethasone can also be effective.
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