Cherry Eye in Dogs (Prolapsed Nictitans Gland)

Source: PetWave, Updated on August 12, 2016
Cherry Eye

Definition of Canine Cherry Eye

Cherry Eye in Dogs, more technically referred to as the prolapse or eversion of the gland of the nictitating membrane, is a condition where part of a dog’s eye flips over and bulges out from the lower inside corner. As a result, the dog will develop an alarming red mass protruding from its eye. The mass will remain in place until the condition is corrected, and will appear as if the dog has a “cherry” sticking out of its eye (which is why most people refer to the condition as “Cherry Eye”). What causes cherry eye isn’t well-understood, but generally speaking, something weakens the connective tissues that normally keep the third eyelid close to the eyeball. Genetics probably play a large role. While cherry eye can affect one or both eyes, it doesn’t happen in both at the same time. Affected dogs are uncomfortable from eye dryness, swelling, irritation, inflammation and pain. They paw at their eyes and rub their faces on flooring or furniture to try and relieve discomfort. Fortunately, if treated early, cherry eye in dogs will not result in a life threatening situation.

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