Cherry Eye

What is that red lump in the corner of my dog’s eye? Unlike humans, dogs and cats actually have 3 eyelids! The third eyelid, called the Nictating Membrane, starts at the inner corner of the eye and covers it diagonally. Additional to providing protection, it contains one of the glands that produce tears to lubricate the eye. Usually this gland is held in place by fibers, but some pets have fibers that are weaker, which results in the gland protruding out. This is called a third eyelid gland prolapse or “cherry eye”.  Cherry eye does not usually cause pain but it is recommended to have it surgically corrected to prevent injury to the eye. If not treated dogs may develop swelling, redness and inflammation of the eye which can lead to conditions such as corneal ulcers and infection.


Years ago this condition was treated by simply removing the gland, before the importance of the gland was fully understood. The problem with this method was that it resulted in the eye not being able to produce an adequate amount of tears, making the eye dry and uncomfortable. Now treatment typically involves surgically replacing the gland in its proper location. Occasionally cherry eye can reoccur after the first surgery, it is important to let your veterinarian know right away if this happens.

CherryEye-1-600x800After Surgery

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