Cats eyes (and dog's, too)

Cats eyes (and dog's, too)

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Whether you believe that or not, the eyes are an important organ. In additional to helping us see our world, that sight enables us to keep our balance and orientate ourselves to our surroundings.

No night blindness here

Dogs and cats have eyes that are highly developed for night vision, and ability to see movement. Cats rely more on their vision than do dogs.

They aren''t able to see as much detail as humans, and don''t see as well up close. They also probably see fewer colors.

Brown eyes blue

Most dog''s eyes are brown, but some have one or more blue eye.

Cats have eyes of many different colors. Oriental breeds of cat occasionally show cross-eyes as a trait.

Extra eyelid

Another difference is the third eyelid, or nictitating membrane. This membrane hides in the inside corner of the eye and helps to cleanse and lubricate it. It also protects the eye from injury.

The third eyelid is usually not seen, but certain diseases and eye irritation can make it more prominent.

Good nutrition protects eyesight

Nutrients that are important for eye health and good sight include enzyme Co-Q10, alphalipoic acid, zinc, selenium, magnesium and the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.

Common problems

Many of the problems and diseases of the eye are the same as seen in humans.

One of the most common problems you may encounter is simple eye irritation. This may be caused by a foreign body in the eye, or by environmental irritants. These might be dust, pollen, chemicals, or smoke.

Another cause of irritation is often a cat''s claw!

Signs of irritated eyes are tearing, redness, whining or crying, scratching or rubbing at the eye and possibly swelling around the eye. If only one eye is showing symptoms, then suspect a foreign body or scratch, but if both are involved then you know it is environmental.

The herb Calendula makes a good eyewash for irritated eyes when properly prepared. Another option is to keep a commercial eyewash on hand.

Inflammatory conditions

Conjunctivitis, also known as "pink eye", is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the membrane lining the eyelid.

Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea. Symptoms of either resemble those of simple eye irritation. Bacteria, viruses or fungi can all be the cause of both.

Conjunctivitis can be treated at home using a dilute tea made from chamomile, calendula or elder flowers, or Oregon grape root. Use an eyedropper or soak a cotton pad and hold it over the eye for a few minutes. A drop of cod liver oil can also be placed in the eye. The vitamin A in the oil will help heal and the oil itself is soothing.

Another solution for both foreign objects in the eye or conjunctivitis is Ark Natural''s Eyes So Bright. It heals and soothes, and is gentle enough to use every day.

Cloudy eyes

Cataracts are easily identified as an opaque lens. The entire eye may be involved, or just one spot. They usually develop gradually and are seen in older animals.

Cataracts can also be caused by trauma, chemical irritation and diabetes.

Supplementing with the nutrients mentioned above, especially the vitamins and zinc and selenium can help prevent cataracts, and has even been known to reverse them.

Another condition of the eye that looks like cataracts is lenticular sclerosis, the hardening of the lens. This condition does not affect vision, and is seen in older animals.

Cry me a river

Excessive or constant tearing is seen in some breeds of dogs and cats, and is often seen in older animals of all breeds.

It is commonly caused by blocked tear ducts, but facial conformation can also be the cause. Persian and Siamese cats are especially affected, as are Poodles, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus among dogs.

Tearing can also indicate respiratory infections or allergies, so it is best to check with your vet as to the cause.

Halo''s Herbal Eye Wash is a two-part product that can help open and clean the tear ducts, as well as eliminate bacteria that can cause inflammation.

If you have difficulty administering eye drops, you might want to try a new nutritional supplement which claims to treat the root cause of dry eyes in dogs.

Entropian is when the lower eyelid turns in, irritating the cornea. It is sometimes congenital, but can also be caused by repeated inflammation.

Symptoms of entropian are constant tearing and frequent blinking. You may sometimes see a white line just under the lid. It is usually treated with a simple surgery.

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