Can You Use Human Eyedrops on Cats?

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Your eyes and her eyes do the same thing, but differently.
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If you tossed and turned in bed or stayed up way too late last night, you'll likely spy a pair of bleary eyes in the mirror when you wake up. The fix? A quick squeeze from the eye drop bottle can help clear up that redness. But if your new kitty's eyes are swollen or irritated, using OTC eye drops for cats is a different story. In fact, you should never offer artificial tears for cats if her eyes are red, inflamed or appear sore. Instead, make an appointment with your pet's vet so you can learn what's up.

Nix human eye drops for cats

It's risky to use human medication on your cat, especially if you don't know what's ailing her. When something's not quite right with your feline's eyes—they're red, swollen or oozing a sticky discharge—it could be for any number of reasons, including serious illness, infection, injury or debris, or a foreign body lodged in the eye.

At worst, OTC eyedrops for cats run the risk of damaging their delicate eyes because it's the wrong medication for her condition. And applying eye drops, such as artificial tears for cats, can also end up delaying the proper treatment she needs. Are you wondering how to treat your cat's eye infection at home? You can soothe her eyes and gently clear away any debris you see by dabbing them with a warm, moist cloth.

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Use vet-approved eye drops for cats

Don't be tempted to try human eye drops on your kitty! Instead, check in with the vet as he or she will prescribe appropriate medication—there's a wide range to choose from, including antibacterial ointments that treat pink eye (conjunctivitis) and pet-friendly eye drops to produce artificial tears for cats. Your pet's vet may also recommend eye drops for cats in order to decrease swelling, treat infections and relieve pain.

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If this is a repeat performance and you want to use some old medication to clear up things, do a double check: once with your vet to make sure the drops or ointment are safe for the condition you'd like to treat and then again for the expiration date to ensure it's still an effective product.

Learn some common cat eye conditions

It's normal to want to ease the symptoms of your new cat, especially since several of them actually mimic ones that humans tend to have, such as pink eye, which is often accompanied by itching, redness and even pain. OTC eye drops for cats aren't the answer, however, so reach out to your vet for the best advice. And to keep your cat's eyes as healthy as possible, try these tips:

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  • Peer at their peepers:​ That's right—make it a habit of checking your cat's eyes in order to spot any unusual developments or changes like redness, cloudiness of the lens, or an eye that is weeping.
  • Keep vet appointments:​ Plan on at least an annual visit to your cat's veterinarian so he can check your kitty's eye health on a regular basis and potentially head off any eye concerns.
  • Bathe with care:​ Gently cleaning around your cat's eyes can keep irritating dirt and debris at bay. Use a damp cloth or cotton ball to swab the area, but don't touch the eye directly as this may cause corneal damage.

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