Cherry Eyes in dogs: what you need to know

Cherry Eyes in dogs: what you need to know

Cherry eye in dogs is a medical condition usually observed in dogs below the age of 2, where the third eyelid or the nictitating membrane gland prolapses to cause a disorder. Even though cats are also vulnerable to cherry eyes, the occurrence of this condition in them is a rarity. Cherry eye in dogs is characterised by the swelling and reddening up of the nictitating membrane. Even though there hasn’t  been any conclusive evidence that cherry eyes cause excruciating pain to dogs, all the experts second on the opinion that it should be treated as promptly as possible.


The most commonly observed symptom of cherry eyes in dogs is the abnormal red coloured protrusion that may arise from both the corners of your dog’s eyes if not from one.

Causes of cherry eye in dogs

The exact cause of cherry eyes in dogs is still a mystery; however, studies have proved that the genetics play an important role in bringing out this condition in dogs. The weak connections between the fibrous tissue linked to the third eye membrane have been considered as the major cause of cherry eyes in dogs. Some dog breeds like English bulldogs, Shih tzus, white terriers etc are more vulnerable to this condition.

Treatment options

There are several options ranging from a simple and routine massage to surgery, for treating cherry eyes in dogs. Usually, upon early detection of cherry eyes in their dogs, pet parents try to treat the condition by a massaging the eye with the effort to reposition the overlapping gland. You also have some steroids and medication courses that are ideal for cherry eye treatment. Surgery is another option to treat cherry eyes, a cherry eye surgery is carried out by the veterinarian by surgically removing and repositioning the prolapsing gland. The gland is prepositioned since removing the gland can lead to dry eye and even blindness in dogs.

Surgery has been a successful option for treating cherry eyes in dogs; however, it is ideal to keep in mind that recurrence is always on the charts.

Interesting pointers

  • Cherry eye condition in a dog is something that does not need a considerable time to develop. There have been instances where dogs have developed cherry eye in a matter of one to two hours.
  • Cherry eye in dogs is not considered to be a life-threatening or painful condition; however, the condition can put your dog in a considerable amount of distress. Therefore, it is ideal to get the condition treated promptly by a veterinarian to thwart any possibilities of a permanent ocular damage.
  • Treating cherry eye also covers the hazards like abnormal eye discharge in dogs, bacterial infections and lack of tear production.

Taking your dog to a veterinarian at least twice a year is an ideal means to alleviate all the concerns regarding cherry eyes and other common health issues faced by dogs.