9 Common Eye Diseases in Dogs – Symptoms and Causes

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Dogs’ eyes are very delicate organs. Exposed to the environment, they can be affected by different diseases and pathologies. The milder ones will only produce irritation of the eyeball, but the more serious ones may even cause blindness.

In any case, all will need the assistance of the vet since it is very dangerous for us to administer eye medication on our own. Below, we review the most common eye diseases in dogs, their symptoms and the care they require.

Index of contents

  • 1 Symptoms of eye diseases
  • 2 Entropion
  • 3 Eyelid tumors
  • 4 Prolapse of the third eyelid lacrimal gland
  • 5 Conjunctivitis
  • 6 Corneal ulcer
  • 7 Keratitis
  • 8 waterfalls
  • 9 Uveitis
  • 10 Glaucoma

Symptoms of eye diseases

Although the pathologies that can affect one or both eyes of our dog are very diverse, the signs that they produce are usually similar. Upon detection of any of them we must go to the vet to determine what disease is exactly. These are some of the usual symptoms:

  • Pain. It can even manifest with moans.
  • Tearing.
  • Eye discharge
  • Redness
  • Cloud over the eye
  • Strabismus, which is the loss of parallelism of the eyes.
  • Photophobia or sensitivity to light.
  • Protrusion of the nictitating membrane or third eyelid, covering the eye to a greater or lesser extent.
  • Hard or soft consistency of the eyeball.
  • Irritation, inflammation of the eyelids or hair loss around it.
  • Bulging or sunken eyes.
  • Sometimes an eye problem also reduces a dog’s appetite and keeps him lethargic.
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In this problem the edges of the eyelids fold over the eye. Especially affects the lower eyelid. It is a birth defect. That is why we see it more frequently in breeds such as Shar pei, Chow Chow, Great Dane, San Bernardo or Bulldog.

The continuous rubbing of the everted eyelid with the eyeball is a cause of tearing and strabismus. The cornea can also become damaged. The treatment of choice is surgical.

  • Complete information on entropion

Eyelid tumors

On the eyelids the most common tumor is the adenoma in the meibomian glands. We will see it as cauliflower-like lumps. Sebaceous adenomas, more common in older dogs, or papillomas can also be identified. They are usually removed to avoid rubbing the cornea and ending up damaging it.

Prolapse of the third eyelid lacrimal gland

Visually it is very easy to identify this problem, since a cherry-like lump is seen on the inner edge of the eye. It contacts the ocular surface and can cause recurring irritation and conjunctivitis, which have not subsided.

It is a congenital defect and more common in breeds such as the Cocker spaniel, the Beagle or the Bulldog and in small dogs. Surgery is used to fix it, repositioning the gland in its place.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. It is perhaps the most common problem. We will observe ocular discharge that can be serous, mucous or purulent, since there are different types of conjunctivitis. It can be caused by irritation caused by, for example, cold air, an allergy, or bacteria.

For this reason, although many caregivers treat conjunctivitis with chamomile, the truth is that it is essential to go to the vet to determine the exact cause. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, corticosteroids in some cases, in addition to keeping the eye clean.

  • Everything about conjunctivitis in dogs
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Corneal ulcer

Is about a wound that will affect the cornea more or less deeply. It is usually caused by trauma, but can be associated with different diseases. It is a problem that is usually very painful. There is also tearing, squinting, itching, or photophobia.

Sometimes the ulcer is noticeable as a matte area. It is very important to go to the vet because, to avoid serious damage, treatment must be early. Drugs may be prescribed for a long time. If there is no improvement, surgery is used, being able to choose between several techniques.


We will identify it as a cloud in the eye. It is due to an inflammation of the cornea. Intense tearing, strabismus, photophobia and protrusion of the third eyelid appear. There are different types but they all have in common that they can cause blindness. Interstitial keratitis or blue eye stands out, which appears in cases of infectious hepatitis.

Also pannus, a pigmentary keratitis that, above all, affects the German Shepherd. Some types of keratitis are progressive and incurable., so treatment can only control progression. Other types are treated with corticosteroids administered for life under strict veterinary supervision.


The waterfall supposes the loss of transparency of the lens. We will observe it as a grayish film. There are congenital or juvenile cataracts that affect breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel, Boston Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Golden, Husky, Bobtail, Poodle or Miniature Schnauzer.

  • Symptoms and treatment of cataracts in dogs

Others are acquired and are due to old age or various diseases. There are surgical techniques to remove cataracts, but not all of them are operable. Juveniles are sometimes spontaneously reabsorbed.

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It is the inflammation of two areas of the eye called the iris and the ciliary body. Its appearance is associated with various systemic or local diseases, although, in other cases, the cause is not determined.

It is a painful condition, which produces tearing, strabismus, photophobia, protrusion of the third eyelid, decreased size of the pupil, cloud in the eye and soft consistency. The vet will have to identify the cause that has triggered it, since treatment depends on it.

  • How is Uveitis diagnosed and what is its treatment?


Glaucoma is a dangerous disease, as it can cause blindness. Occurs when more aqueous humor is generated than is removed. This increases intraocular pressure, which can cause damage to the optic nerve and retina.

It can be primary, affecting more breeds such as the Beagle, the Cocker Spaniel, the Samoyed or the Basset hound. Secondary is a complication of other diseases. Glaucoma causes pain, tearing, squinting, hard eye, haz
e, and increased pupil. This is an emergency, since blindness can occur within hours.

Treatment focuses on lowering intraocular pressure as soon as possible. If it does not work, surgery is used. Chronic glaucoma increases the size of the eyeball. There is blindness and removal is recommended as it will be prone to injury and pain.

  • Detailed information on glaucoma in dogs