“Cherry eye,” also called prolapse or eversion of the gland of the nictitating membrane, is the common name for a condition where part of a dog’s eye, the third eyelid, flips over and bulges out from the lower inside corner of the eye, resembling a cherry. This happens suddenly. The dog looks fine one minute, and the next has an ugly red mass protruding from its eye. What causes cherry eye isn’t well-understood. Something weakens the connective tissues that normally keep the third eyelid close to the eyeball, allowing it to pop out. 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, cherry eye isn’t an emergency and is easy to treat.
The precise causes of cherry eye are not well understood. Anatomically, each eye of domestic dogs contains a nictitating membrane - commonly referred to as a “third eyelid” – which hides beneath the lower eyelid and normally is not visible to owners or to others. Tear glands are located around the cartilage connections of the nictitating membranes, providing a major source of tear film and eye lubrication. However, if the fibrous tissues that hold the
Cherry eye can occur in just one of a dog’s eyes (unilaterally) or in both eyes (bilaterally). Dogs that develop cherry eye usually have symptoms associated with ocular irritation, dryness, redness (conjunctivitis), swelling, inflammation and/or other causes of pain. Affected dogs tend to scratch or paw at their eyes as a result of the discomfort, and sometimes they are seen rubbing their faces along the grass or indoor carpeting in an apparent attempt to relieve
“Cherry eye” is the most common disorder of the third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, of the canine eye. It is especially prevalent in certain breeds of dogs. Fortunately, cherry eye is not difficult to diagnose. Owners who notice an angry red mass of tissue suddenly protruding from the inner corner of one or both of their dog’s eyes should make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. This is not a life-threatening medical
Prolapse of the gland of the nictitating membrane or third eyelid, commonly called “cherry eye,” should be treated as quickly as possible. 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 the that the third eyelid gland is out of place and exposed to environmental elements, the more inflamed, irritated and possibly infected it may