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Cherry Eye

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Cherry Eye on an English Bulldog Puppy Cherry Eye on an English Bulldog Puppy

Cherry eye is the term used to refer to canine nictitans gland prolapse, a common eye condition in various dog breeds where the gland of the third eyelid prolapses and becomes visible. It appears as a red mass in the inner corner of the eye, sometimes mistaken for a tumor. The condition generally occurs before the age of two years. The eye becomes chronically inflamed and there is often a discharge if this is not corrected. Because the gland is responsible for a large portion of the eye's tear production, the eye can eventually suffer from dryness (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Surgery is the usual treatment. Older methods of cherry eye correction involved simply removing the gland, but it is a last-resort procedure today (complemented with a lifetime of eyedrops if performed), as the gland's purpose was unknown then. Modern methods of cherry eye correction involve repositioning of the gland to its normal location. The success rate of this type of surgery is approximately 80% in most breeds.


  • Gelatt, Kirk N. (ed.)(1999). Veterinary Ophthalmology (3rd ed.). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-683-30076-8

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