Cherry Eye (Prolapse of the Gland of the Third Eyelid)
What is Cherry Eye?
The third eyelid helps to protect the eyes of dogs. There is a gland on its underside that may slip out of place and protrude from under the gland. This gland produces a significant amount of tear film and thus is important to keeping the eye moist.
How does my dog get Cherry Eye?
This is considered to be the result of a congenital weakness of the attachment of the gland to the third eyelid. There are a number of breeds that are commonly seen with Cherry Eye (see below).
How do I know if my dog has Cherry Eye?
A cherry eye will appear as a red mass above the edge margin of the third eyelid. There may be increased tearing, redness to the eye, and blinking. It is usually seen in younger dogs between 6 months and two years of age. Your veterinarian will be able to make this diagnosis or differentiate it from other similar conditions.
What can I do about Cherry Eye?
Treatment is surgical in nature. Previously, removal of the gland was suggested but this will lead to decreased tear production and other problems. Currently, the surgery tacks down the gland to prevent it from prolapsing but allowing it to continue to produce tears. If only one eye is affected, there is a very high risk of the other eye’s gland prolapsing later.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Cherry Eye?
Outside of careful breed selection, little can be done to prevent this condition.
Are there certain breeds that get Cherry Eye more often?
Cocker spaniel, bulldog, beagle, bloodhound, lhasa apso, shih tzu, basset hound, Boston terrier, boxer, bull terrier, shar pei, miniature poodle, St. Bernard, Neapolitan mastiff, are just a few of the breeds that are predisposed.