CatsMedical & Health

The third eyelid in cats What are its diseases ??

What is the benefit of the third eyelid in cats?? 

It happened again: I saw your cat woke up from a deep slumber, staring at you through eyes that looked dim, even transparent. Blink a few times, and these lobes dipped horizontally in the corners of his eyes. You sighed (because it was strange). What is this exactly? It turns out that you noticed the third eyelid in cats.

What is the third eyelid in cats??

The third eyelid in cats is a membrane or part of the inner corner tissue of the eye, which makes it different from the first (upper) and second (lower) eyelid. The third eyelid is also covered with conjunctiva (the same tissue as on the white eye), and maintains its shape using a special T-shaped cartilage.

What is the function of the third eyelid in cats??

This membrane is an additional layer of protection for the cornea and moisturizes the eye while maintaining vision. The third eyelid is sometimes described as being very much like a “windshield wiper blade” by removing impurities and pollen from the surface and redistributing tears to the cornea.

  The third eyelid in cats also serves as a shield to the cornea during movement through the tall grass and during skirmishes with neighbouring cats or resistant prey. (Keep it indoors so it never needs this protection!)

Cats and dogs have a third eyelid. As well as birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and some other mammals.

The movement of the third eyelid in cats

It is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and muscle cells located in the third eyelid in cats. For many other animals in the wild, this remarkable feature helps protect the eye from infection.

How to spot the third eyelid in cats??

When your cat is on the alert, most of the third eyelid in cats remain hidden in the eye cavity, with only a small portion visible in the inner corner of the eye. When he is comfortable, for example, during a nap or during blinking, pulling the eyeball with a group of muscles causes the third eyelid to move across the surface of the eye.

Why do humans not have a third eyelid like in cats??

Believe it or not, scientists believe humans have had a third eyelid like in cats. And that during development, the turbulent membrane was reduced to the small pink fold of tissue at the corner of the eye. Perhaps this happened because, unlike cats, humans did not have to catch prey by biting or stalking through plants face to face.

What does it mean the appearance of the third eyelid in cats continuously??

The third eyelid in catsThere are several health problems that may cause the raise of the third eyelid in cats continuously. We will talk about a group of them as follows:

  • Cat eye diseases .Learn about eye diseases in cats
  • Eye trauma in cats

For most of these symptoms, if only one eye is affected, it is likely to be the result of a trauma. If both eyes are affected, it is more likely because of injury or another disease:

  • Eye discharge, whether it be watery, yellow, green, crusty, etc.
  • Swollen eyes or conjunctivitis
  • Clouding of the cornea
  • Cuts or tears to the eyelid
  • Third eyelid in cats is showing or raised 
  • Keeping the eye partially or completely closed
  • In severe cases, the eye may come out of its socket (prolapse)

The main cause

Most eye pain injuries are caused by fights, foreign objects in the eyes, or other similar events.

urgent care

Gently wipe the eye secretions with warm cotton water.

For swollen eyes, gently separate the eyelids and pour a saline solution (the same solution you use on your eyes) between the eyelids. It is important not to spray saline to rinse foreign matter from the eye.

If the eye is outside its lumen (drooping eye), keep it moist with saline solution and cover it with a damp cloth.

If there is active bleeding from the eye or eyelid, cover the area with a non-stick pad and hold it in place manually or with a bandage tape so the vet can examine your cat.


Your vet will perform a thorough examination of your cat and then examine the eye in detail.

Sutures are required for most wounds on the eyelids. If the wounds are associated with the battle, the course of antibiotics is also prescribed. Usually, scratches and small sores heal in the cornea with topical medications. However, severe damage may require surgery.

In severe cases, such as drooping the eye, the vet will need to determine whether replacing or removing the eye is the best option.


Battles and accidents, which are the most common sources of eye injury, cannot be completely prevented, but keeping your cat indoors will reduce risk significantly.

2-The emergence of the third eyelid in cats (“cherry eye”)

The third eyelid in catsThe cat’s gland hanging from the third eyelid in cats, also known as the “cherry eye”, indicates a prominent pink mass of cat’s eyelid. Usually, the growth of the gland is anchored by a fibrous ligament.

This medical condition occurs in both dogs and cats, although it usually affects younger animals.


The most common sign of “cherry eye” is a prominent oval mass from the third eyelid in cats. It can occur in one or both eyes and may be accompanied by swelling and irritation.

The causes

“Cherry Eye” is often associated with congenital weakness in the attachment of the gland in the cat’s eye. However, it is not known whether the condition is inherited.

While this medical condition can occur in any breed, it is more common in Persian cats.


The vet will review the block in the third eyelid in cats and determine if there is an underlying cause for the condition.


Treatment often includes surgical replacement of the cat’s eye gland, or removal of the entire gland if the condition is severe. On the contrary, if medications are recommended, they are usually topical anti-inflammatory drugs that are effective in reducing swelling.


Unfortunately, there are currently no known preventive measures for this medical condition. 

Causes other than eye diseases in cats, such as:

High body temperature: If your cat has a fever, the third eyelid in cats can cover its eyes.

Dehydration: If your cat is old and skinny, or is dehydrated, and has lost tissue around her eye, the third eyelid will deteriorate.

Learn about dehydration in cats

Nerve damage: Nerve damage to the face and neck of a cat usually causes the third eyelid in cats to hang in at least one eye. When it comes to nerve damage, there are often other signs, such as resizing pupils or loss of movement in the face of cats.

Intestinal disorder: The most common cause of a third eyelid in cats to droop in both eyes is when your cat has digestive disorder – or in fact – like intestinal worms or other parasites; Food intolerance; Viral or bacterial bowel infection.



Related Articles