Just like people, dogs experience eye problems as well. A number of diseases can affect a dog’s eye function. We will be taking a look at eight of the most common eye problems experienced by dogs and how they can be managed.
Cherry Eye: Many people don’t know this, but Dogs have three eyelids. Two are visible to us, while one is hidden and can only be seen on a side view of the dog. It is located in the inner corner of the eye and has a tear-producing gland. The glands are not meant to be visible. However, as a result of some congenital weakness experienced in some dogs, the tear producing gland could become visible and pop out like a cherry, hence the name “Cherry Eye”. This condition can only be fixed by a vet doctor, who has to perform a minor surgery to correct the affected eye and restore the gland to its normal position.
Corneal Wounds: The surface of the eye is covered by the cornea and dogs are prone to injuries (puncture wounds, cuts etc) in this area. The injury usually results when something pokes the dog in the eye. But in some cases, it may be a result of poor tear production.
How can you tell when your dog has a corneal wound? The dog often rubs at the affected eye and, in most cases, the eye turns red as a result of excessive contact.
Treatment for corneal wounds involves preventing or treating infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointments, managing the pain and giving the cornea time to heal.
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) or Dry Eye: A dog is said to have Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) or Dry Eye when the dog’s eyes produces less tear glands than usual. You might be wondering why dogs need tears, but, just like human beings, tears help with cleaning the eyes and removing potentially damaging objects from the eye. Mild cases of Dry Eye may be managed by application of artificial tear solution to the eyes. Cyclosporine may also be added to the eyes to enhance tears production. In severe cases, surgery will be needed to redirect the tear duct.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): This is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is also referred to as Pink Eye in dogs. The conjunctiva is located at both sides of the third eye lid. The symptoms include red/swollen conjunctiva, eye drainage and obvious discomfort of the dog. Conjunctivitis is often caused by an underlying ailment and sometimes by infections. It may be treated by the application of saline eye drops or anti-bacterial eye drop or ointment. Always wash your hands after applying.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma occurs when the pressure within the eye increases. The Symptoms include pain, eye redness, increased tear production, a visible third eyelid, corneal cloudiness, dilated pupils and in advanced cases, an obviously enlarged eye. It is important that dog owners act in haste, less their dogs could go blind if left untreated. Treatment will involve medications that will decrease inflammation in the eyes. Surgery may also be needed in severe cases.
Cataracts: When cataract occurs, it blocks light from entering the eye and it may result in poor vision or blindness. Cataract surgery is available for dogs when their vision is severely compromised. If this is not an option, it is important to recognize that most dogs adapt very well to having poor vision.
Entropion: Entropion describes a condition where the dog’s eyelids rolls backward. This causes the dog’s hair to get into the eye and then causes pain and may eventually damage the dog’s cornea. For a temporary fix, surgeons may suture the dog’s eye lids into the right position or carry our a surgery to put the eyelids permanently in the right position.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a condition in which the dog experiences temporary blindness, even when the eyes look normal. It is often hard to spot. Unfortunately, no effective treatment exists for PRA. Nevertheless, the condition is painless and dogs generally adapt extremely well to becoming temporarily blind.