What is a Cherry Eye?

A cherry eye is the common term for prolapse of the 3rd eyelid gland. Dogs and cats both have an “extra eyelid” located inside the lower eye - we also call this a nictitating membrane. The 3rd eyelid has a gland in it that produces eye film that helps protect the eye. It actually produces 50% of the watery portion of the eye film. ⁣

Sometimes the attachment inside the eye is weak (esp. in certain breeds) or if the eye is extremely irritated and the gland can prolapse. This is when we call it a cherry eye. It will appear as a fleshy, red mass in the lower, inner eye. It can be apparent all the time but sometimes will only appear periodically. ⁣

Treatment involves trying to get the gland replaced back into the eye with a relatively simple surgery. The surgery is done to minimize permanent damage to the eye and the gland. Permanent damage to the gland could seriously impair your pets vision and could cause the development of other diseases like ‘dry eye’. ⁣

If the replacement surgery does not work (which sometimes it doesn’t), then the gland needs to be removed. If removed, your pet will need to be on medication to help lubricate the eye! ⁣

Check out the surgical repair pictures that we did for a sweet little pup rescued by Saving Grace Animal Society.

Chat to your vet if you’ve noticed your pet develop or developing a cherry eye! ⁣


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