Cherry Eye - Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid in Dogs
Prolapsed gland of the eyelid - also known as Cherry Eye - is a pink mass that protrudes from the dog’s eyelid.
Cherry Eye occurs in both dogs and cats, although it typically affects younger animals.
The condition itself is not particularly dangerous to dogs, but correction is important to make the dog comfortable and reduce the risk of more serious secondary problems. The longer that the third eyelid gland is out of place and exposed to environmental elements, the more inflamed, irritated and possibly infected it may become.
Symptoms and Types
The most common sign of "cherry eye" is an oval mass protruding from the dog’s third eyelid. It can occur in one or both eyes, and may be accompanied by swelling and irritation.
"Cherry eye" is most commonly associated with a congenital weakness of the gland's attachment in the dog's eye. However, it is not known whether the condition is inherited.
Cherry Eye can occur in any breed, however it is mostly seen in Spaniels, Bulldogs, Beagles, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus.
The treatment goal of cherry eye is to:
Return the function and appearance of the third eyelid structures to as normal a state as possible
Reduce abnormal discharge from the affected eye(s)
Minimize irritation and injury to the corneal and conjunctiva tissues
Preserve and promote tear production from the gland of the third eyelid
Reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infections
Eliminate the dog's discomfort
Treatment also often includes surgical replacement of the gland in the dog's eye, or removal of the entire gland if the condition is severe. If the entire gland is to be removed, then eye drops will need to be given daily as to prevent dry eye.
There is no known prevention for Cherry Eye. If a dog has only one of its eyes affected by cherry eye, the owner should realize that surgical correction of the affected eye will not reduce the risk of cherry eye developing in the other eye.
Surgical correction of cherry eye is usually very successful. Post-operatively, the affected eyes of most dogs will return to full normal function, as long as the affected gland is repositioned rather than removed. If the gland is removed, eye drops will be necessary to provide normal lubrication of the eye for the remainder of the dog’s life.