Signs of infection of the conjunctiva are often seen about the time kittens begin to open their eyes (around seven to ten days). Sticky yellow discharges are present that often seal the eyelids shut until you or the mother cat cleans them, and soon after being cleaned away they return. In some instances the infection is so severe that the lids do not open and
severe damage to the eye itself occurs. This type of infectious conjunctivitis of kittens is caused by various bacteria and bacterialike organisms that are thought to be acquired from the mother while the kittens are still in the uterus or soon after birth.
If you notice signs of conjunctivitis in your kittens or if their eyes do not open on schedule, early treatment is important to avoid permanent damage to the eyes. The best procedure is to take the whole litter to your veterinarian who can tell you whether actual eye damage is present or likely to occur. If the infection is simple he or she will provide you with an appropriate antibiotic ointment that you will be instructed to instill into the eyes several times a day after removing the discharges.
Until the kittens can be examined by a veterinarian, home care consists of gently wiping away accumulated discharges with a soft cloth, tissue, or cotton ball moistened with warm water. Follow this by gentle separation of the eyelids and removal of discharges that have become trapped behind them.