Due to their short faces, large eyelid openings and large eyes, our squashy faced friends are predisposed to several eye problems. At Melbourne Bulldog Clinic we are experts in diagnosis and management of these conditions, and commonly perform surgical correction where required.
Cherry eye is a swelling of the gland behind the third eyelid, resulting in protrusion of the gland as a reddish mass. French and British bulldogs are particularly prone to this condition. It most commonly occurs in young dogs, and will often occur in the other eye some time afterwards.
Occasional, in the early stages, a prolapsed gland can be returned to it’s normal position by gentle massage (our nurses can show you how to do this for no charge) and/or treated with steroid anti-inflammatory eye drops.
In most cases, and especially if the cherry eye is recurrent, surgery is the recommended treatment. The everted gland is reduced into a pocket in the back of the third eyelid and sutured in place. This procedure has a high success rate.
Entropion and Ectropion
Entropion is a condition where the eyelids (it can be upper, lower or often both) roll in towards the eye. Hairs rubbing on the cornea results in irritation, pain and discharge.
Ectropion is a condition where the eyelids roll out due to excess eyelid tissue, and results in exposure of the conjunctiva, irritation and discharge.
Thank fully, both conditions are surgically correctable. English Bulldogs are particularly prone to both these conditions.
Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome
Many brachycephalic dogs are unable to completely blink over their enlarged eyeballs, resulting in exposure and drying of the cornea (the surface of the eyeball). Pugs are particular risk breeds for this condition.
Components of brachycephalic ocular syndrome include:
1. Entropion – This is where the eyelid rolls in, resulting in hairs causing irritation to the cornea. It most commonly affects the inside of the lower eyelid.
2. Epiphora (watery eyes) and tear staining – Occurs due to abnormal draining of the tear ducts.
3. Trichiasis and distichiasis – Abnormal, extra eyelashes that curl in and irritate the cornea.
4. Reduced corneal sensitivity – This can delay recognition of problems causing irritation to the cornea, and can also impair healing of corneal wounds.
5. Tear deficiencies – Decreased tear production further exacerbates corneal injuries, and causes drying of the cornea.
6. Shallow orbits (eye sockets) – This results in less protection of the eyeball which, combined with a larger eyeball size, means that the eye itself is more exposed, and more prone to trauma or drying out.
The ideal treatment for brachycephalic ocular syndrome is a surgery called medial canthoplasty – this involves closing down the inside corner of the eyelid opening, and results in decreasing the size of the eyelid opening, everting entropion of the inside lower lid, improved tear duct drainage ability, and improved eyeball coverage and blinking. The overall result is greater protection of the eyeball from trauma and drying out.
What are the signs to look for?
Basically, if your dog has any redness, swelling or discharge from the eyes, it’s best to get it checked. Eyes can change quite quickly which means they often respond quickly to the correct treatment, and also means they can worsen quickly without medical attention. If you are unsure, please give us a call. We are always happy to advise.