Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Pet Owner Version

Prolapse of the Eye in Cats


Kirk N. Gelatt

, VMD, DACVO, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2018 | Modified Oct 2022

Severe prolapse (slipping out of place) and/or bulging of the eye can be caused by trauma. It is uncommon in cats. The outcome depends on the extent of the trauma, depth of the eye socket, duration of the displacement, resting pupil size, condition of the eye, and other damage near the eye. In cats, forward displacement is usually caused by severe trauma to the head; often, facial bones are broken. The eyeball should be put back in place surgically as soon as possible if the cat is in good enough health to have general anesthesia. The upper and lower eyelids are temporarily stitched closed to protect the damaged eye and prevent recurrence. Treatment includes antibiotics (both given by mouth or injection and topical ointments or creams) to prevent infection. Occasionally other medications are needed as well. Although vision does not usually return in the injured eye, the eyeball can usually be saved.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!