4 Cool Facts About Cat Eyes

Evolution has shaped cats into hunters with remarkable skill. Thanks lớn their superior senses & agility, they are very well adapted lớn the predatory lifestyle. One of your cat"s strongest senses is its eyesight. In light of this, today we will unravel some of the secrets within feline eyes. Learn more about the anatomy of feline eyes, the science behind eye colors, diseases và problems, as well as evolutionary advances.

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Have sầu you ever wondered how special all of your cat’s senses really are? Find out more here.

Anatomy of cat eyes

Cats have sầu very large eyes in relation lớn their head kích thước. The eyes are placed face forward on the skull, in bony cavities called orbits. The White part of the eye is called the sclera, and it is covered with a thin membrane, the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva covers the inside of the eyelids. In front of the eye is a clear dome, the cornea. The cornea protects the eye và lets the light in. The round, colored area of the eye is the iris. Light goes into lớn the feline eye through the vertically slit pupils. Behind the iris sits the lens, & lining the baông xã of the eye is the light-sensitive tissue called the retimãng cầu. Light focuses on the retina through the cornea (clear dome in front of the eye), pupil và lens. It is the retimãng cầu that will convert light rays inkhổng lồ nerve sầu impulses và send them to the brain. The brain interprets these impulses và forms an image.


Eye colors

Eye pigment is produced by pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, which are present in the iris. The exact color và its intensity will depover on the number và activity of melanocytes in the iris. If there are no melanocytes, the eye will be blue. A low abundance of melanocytes results in green coloration, and a high abundance results in orange. If the melanocytes are less active sầu, the intensity of the given color will be lighter & vice versa. Therefore, eyes with a high number of melanocytes (orange) can range from amber (less active melanocytes) khổng lồ svào copper (active sầu melanocytes). Feline eyes are often not a discrete color, but rather a continuum between tones. Sometimes, eye colors are linked to lớn coat color or breed, as the number and activity of melanocytes is genetically determined by a number of different genes. If your special kitty has two differently colored eyes, then they are a carrier of a trait called heterochromia.


Evolutionary adaptations of feline eyesight

Cats are nocturnal animals, which is reflected in their exceptionally sharp vision. They are able khổng lồ detect movement highly efficiently & precisely, even in low light. There are several specific adaptations that enhance cats’ sense of sight:

1. Vertical pupils. Light goes into the feline eyes through the pupils, which are vertically slit. This is thought to be another adaptation to a nocturnal lifestyle, as vertically shaped pupils exclude light more effectively và change form size much faster than round pupils. In high abundance of light, a cat’s pupils appear elliptical, while in darker conditions they are round, almost filling the entire iris area (the colored part of the eye).

2. Tapetum lucidum. Behind the retimãng cầu, cats have sầu a reflective sầu layer called the tapetum lucidum. This eye layer sends light that passes through the retimãng cầu baông xã inlớn the eye, increasing the light available to the photoreceptors (rods & cones). Thus, it is often referred lớn as retroreflector. This improves cats’ ability to lớn see in the dark, but it does reduce their clarity of vision.

3. Wider visual field of view. While humans have a visual field of 180°, cats have a field of view of 200°. This sharpens their peripheral vision. Their binocular field, the overlap of the images from each eye, however, is narrower than that of ours. This smaller binocular field means that cats’ depth perception is not as good as that of humans.


4. Unblinking eyes. Unlượt thích humans, cats don’t need lớn bliên kết on regular basis to lớn keep their eyes lubricated. This is another advantage when hunting. ‘Squinting’ is often observed in domestic cats, though, và it is considered khổng lồ be a way of communication.

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5. Nictitating membrane. Cats have sầu a third eyelid which closes from the side of the eye. It is often visible when the mèo is sleepy or sick. The functions of the nictitating membrane include protection of the eyes, lubrication & removal of dust & other debris.


Diseases and sight problems

Like any organ in the toàn thân, your cat"s eyes are also susceptible khổng lồ injury và disease. While many ocular problems can be easily solved, some may be more detrimental và will require a professional"s attention. Here are the most comtháng ocular concerns in cats.

1. Eye infections are relatively comtháng in cats và can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, và less frequently, parasites. Depending on the cause of the eye infection, you might notice redness and/or swelling of the eyes, discharge, squinting or excessive sầu rubbing. If you notice your cat is experiencing some discomfort & you suspect it might be an eye infection, make sure to lớn reach out khổng lồ a vet who will diagnose the cause & prescribe an appropriate treatment. Most eye infections can be cleared out relatively easily and quickly if diagnosed early & correctly.

2. Injuries are generally more comtháng in cats who are allowed khổng lồ go outdoors, but they can happen khổng lồ all cats for many different reasons. Many cases of ocular trauma in cats are caused by other animals, car accidents, small objects getting stuck under the eyelid, or falling. Depending on the case & the severity of the trauma, your vet will assist you and prescribe an appropriate treatment.


3. Allergies/irritation. Allergic reactions in cats usually don"t cause eye irritations; they most frequently cause atopic dermatitis. But, some allergies can be followed by redness và irritation of the eyes. More importantly, your cat"s eyes can be easily irritated by different irritants such as dust, cigarette smoke or fragrances.

4. Corneal ulcers are open sores (loss of tissue) on the cornea. They are typically caused by infections, trauma, insufficient tearing, or anatomical abnormalities. This is usually observed as cloudiness in the eyes, redness, squinting & pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, tương tác your vet immediately. Depending on the severity, some corneal ulcers can heal on their own or can be treated.

5. Glaucoma is a serious problem of fluid blockage in the eye, which increases the eye pressure. It is caused by anatomical abnormalities, infections, inflammations, tumors or other factors & it is considered a medical emergency. The symptoms include obvious signs of pain, cloudiness in the eyes, squinting & discharge. If you ever suspect that your mèo might be experiencing ocular pain or any of the other signs listed here, liên hệ your vet immediately.

6. Lenticular sclerosis is a normal, age-related change in the lens of feline eyes. It is evident as a cloudy, milky appearance of the pupils, but it usually doesn"t interfere with vision. This is not the same condition as cataracts (explained below), và should not be mixed up. If you notice cloudiness in your cat"s eyes & milky appearance of the pupils, consult with your veterinarian who will determine the right diagnosis.

7. Cataracts, often confused with lenticular sclerosis, is an abnormal change in the lens which can be seen as a cloudy formation. These cloudy formations, or cataracts, interfere with vision by blocking the light from entering the eye. Some cases of cataracts can be treated surgically. If you notice any signs, consult with your veterinarian who will determine the right diagnosis and the strategy moving forwards.

There are other, less comtháng ocular disease described in cats too. If your cát suffers from any of the more serious ocular diseases & their vision is harmed, please rethành viên that, once the problem is resolved, many cats adapt to life with impaired vision relatively quickly và can still have sầu a good unique of life. You can find a few tips on life with blind cats in our article on progressive retinal atrophy.


Feline eyes are beautiful, captivating và remarkably sharp. Their anatomy & evolutionary adaptations are fascinating. How special are your cat"s eyes? Share with us on social media! And if your cát is suffering from sight problems, remember that with a little bit of love and patience, we can provide ALL cats with happy và comfortable lives.