Spot, an 11 month old female entire Bulldog was presented to us with a mass in the eye. The red swelling had appeared suddenly, and was causing no real discomfort to the dog.
Upon presentation the mass was easily diagnosed as a prolapsed gland of the third eyelid, or "cherry eye". Cherry eye is common in brachycephalic dogs (those with short snouts.)
The third eyelid comes from the inner side of the eye and moves accross the eye as the animal blinks. It contains a lacrimal gland, which produces tears. In normal dogs, the gland is attached firmly to the base of the third eyelid, but in a lot of short-nosed dogs, in particular bulldogs, the attachment is loose and allows the gland to pop up. Whilst not immediately much of a problem, chronic cherry eyes leads to a 42% chance of reduction in tear production, therefore leading to a dry eye, which causes inflammation, infection and eventually can lead to blindness.
To help avoid this, the recommended procedure is to surgically replace the cherry eye into the third eyelid, preventing the gland from receiving continual damage. This reduces the risk of dry eye complications to 10%. The old fashion surgery, where the gland is surgically removed, has been found to increase the risk to 50%, and should no longer be performed.
In this dog, the gland was sown back into its normal position in the third eyelid. The appearance immediately post-operatively is a little corrugated, but settles with time, as can be seen with the photo of her other eye which had been operated on previously.
Mass in corner of eye before surgery