Why Do Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark?

Have you ever gone into the refrigerator to grab a snack at midnight and then realized that sparkling cat eyes have been watching you? You’re not alone If you’ve chalked this super-powered ability down due to the cat’s ability to see night. However, according to experts that the real purpose behind glowing eyes isn’t clear.

“We cannot request that cats interpret eyesight charts therefore it’s difficult to know about their exact vision,” Lauren Jones, DVM veterinarian advisor at PetCoach states. However, what we know for sure is the cat’s ability to see clearly in low-light conditions could be due to the higher amount of rods within the eyes of cats (aka cells that aid me as well as you and your cat perceive low-light conditions). In terms of bright eyes, Jones states that it’s not certain that they play the primary function of being able to see better in dark conditions.

What does it mean when the eyes of a cat glow in the dark?

Eyeshine or glowing eyes are a common occurrence for nocturnal as well as crepuscular animals. The reason for the reason why eyes of cats glow is fairly clear to experts, however in terms of how much it can help cats see, there is some debate.

Sarah McCormack, DVM, Associate Veterinarian at Northwest Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Ore., states how an extremely thin, reflective coating is known as”the tapetum lucidum is the reason for the bright eyes of cats. In simple terms, the tapetum is a mirror. It is able to reflect light that has been reflected back to the receptors, and then emits a glowing light through the eye during the process.

“We think what the tapetum does is to make dark areas appear brighter,” McCormack explains. Light particles that were not absorbed by rods on their journey toward the rear of our eyes are reflected off, giving rods an additional chance to absorb.

The intensity of eyeshine is dependent on the development of the tapetum and can differ among breeds, breeds, eye color as well as coat color, McCormack says. Siamese cats, For instance, are believed as having deficiently developed lucidum of the tapetum. You might think that they are not able to see night due to it. However, McCormack says, “We think so however, we don’t have the ability to verify us, so we have to depend on the reports of their owners as well as their visual acuity in the examination room.”

How do the eyes of a cat work?

Like the eyes of humans, cats’ eyes are able to absorb light from the pupil. The light is then transported to the rear of the eyeball, where it hits the retina and is then taken up by photoreceptor cells (rods as well as cones). This is where the main difference between the cat’s and the human’s eye is apparent.

To begin, humans are more concentric. This means we can see more color than cats could. Cats compensate for their minor color blindness with larger rods than we do, allowing them to see more clearly in dim light.

Behind the cones and rods is where the lucid tapetum is located, but it’s not visible in humans. Unabsorbed light hits the reflection layer, and spreads to the front of the eye, giving it another chance of getting caught up by the rod and making your cat’s eyes sparkle.

Based on what you’re up at dawn (hunting mice or something else) being able to see better in dim lighting isn’t always the best thing. McCormack says the reason why when light hits the surface of the lucid tapetum in directions that are different from the direction it came into. This makes the clarity of an image diminish. In actual fact, she states that a cat must have seven times more proximity than an object to be able to perceive it with the same clarity as we can.

Why Is only one of my Cats’ Eyes Glow?

macro photography of black cat

Jones suggests not to worry about it if you don’t notice the eyes of both your cats shining at a certain angle It’s likely that the light gets into the eyes in different ways. However, if you notice an unexpected shift in the appearance of your cat’s eyes or if they’ve always not had any eyeshine in either eye, McCormack says there could be something else happening.

If your cat’s never had eyeshine before or a tapetum, it could be absent or not completely formed in either or both eyes of your cat. When the shift in the eyeshine is abrupt it could be an indication of an infection, cancer, cataracts, or other corneal issues, McCormick says. Therefore, it’s recommended to schedule an appointment to see your veterinarian.

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