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Eye Problems of Bulldogs

Eye Problems in Bulldogs

The most important thing to remember about bulldog eye problems is to get an eye examination and treatment early. If your bulldog is squinting or rubbing the eyes, call for the first available appointment. It may not be a serious problem. But if it is a serious problem, early treatment can make a big difference in the comfort of your bulldog, and the success of treatment. We have very good ophthalmology specialists here in New Jersey. If you are concerned about the progress we are making with an eye problem, we will be happy to refer you to a specialist. Please, never hesitate to ask about a referral.

Cherry Eye (prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid)

Dogs have three eyelids, upper lid, lower lid and the third eyelid. The third eyelid is under the lower eyelid in the corner toward the nose. There is a tear gland under the third eyelid. If this gland is swollen, it pops out as a little pink “cherry” in the inside corner of the eye. Sometimes the cherry eye gland will shrink and go back into place by itself. Puppies which develop one eye with a cherry eye may have the second eye’s gland come out. Most cherry eyes will need surgery. There are two methods to surgically treat cherry eyes. Many years ago veterinarians would simple cut out the cherry eye gland. The problem with this procedure is that it removes the gland that makes about half of the tears for that eye. We repair the gland by suturing it back in place. Once a dog has had a cherry eye, he has an somewhat increased chance of having "dry eyes" later in life no matter what the treatment. Studies (in other breeds) have shown a lower chance of "dry eyes" with the suture down surgery. There are a small percentage of patients who have recurrence of cherry eye even with surgery.


Entropion is a condition where the eyelid(s) rolls inward until the eyelashes of the lid rub on the cornea (clear part of the eye). The rubbing of eyelashes against the cornea can, over time, cause permanent corneal damage. We treat entropion with laser surgery to roll the eyelid back out to a more normal position.

Corneal Ulcers

A bulldog that is squinting or rubbing the eyes may have a corneal ulcer. Injury to the cornea (clear part of the eye) must be treated early. If a corneal injury is not treated, it becomes an ulcer into the cornea. This can progress to blindness or even loss of the eye. New mild ulcers are treated medically. More serious ulcers are treated with surgery. Some difficult ulcers will require extended treatment for weeks.

Dry Eyes

A bulldog with a thick yellow discharge in the eye and dry crust around the eye might have keratoconjuntivitis sicca, called dry eyes or KCS. KCS is caused by the tear glands not producing enough tears. Early treatment can get the tear glands to increase tear production. There are good medicines which can help. If treatment is not started soon enough, the tear glands will not respond. Then it is necessary to put artificial tears in the eyes several times a day the rest of the dog’s life.



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