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6 Most Common Eye Problems in Dogs

Pet Health and Safety  •   AKC Pet Insurance  •   Jul 10, 2019

It’s never easy when your dog starts having health problems, but recognizing signs early can significantly reduce the chances of it advancing to something serious. It’s not just older dogs that experience eye problems - a number of conditions that can occur at all ages across all breeds. Here are the most common eye problems to look out for in your dog.

1. Pink Eye

Many dog owners don’t know that their furry friends can get pink eye or conjunctivitis. Similar to humans, symptoms include:

• Eye redness

• Inflammation

• Gooey discharge

If your dog has pink eye caused by a bacterial infection, he will need to see a vet and receive an antibiotic eye drop solution. In some occasions, pink eye can be brought on by an allergic reaction to pollen or cigarette smoke and will require a solution to flush the irritants out of your dog’s eyes.

2. Damaged Cornea

Just like humans, dogs occasionally get something in their eye. Grass and dirt are common culprits, especially if your dog loves to play outside. Damage to the cornea can occur when your pup tries to alleviate his irritation by scratching his eyes with his paws and accidentally injuring himself with his nail. Here are the signs that your dog has a damaged cornea:

• Eye redness

• Excessive eye tearing

• Pawing at the eye

If you suspect your dog has damaged his cornea, he should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. The veterinarian will be able to evaluate the injury and help prevent infection.

3. Dry Eye

Also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, dry eye occurs when the tear ducts aren’t producing enough lubrication. This makes it difficult for your dog’s eyes to naturally eliminate any dust and dirt, causing irritation. If not properly treated, dry eye can lead to cornea scratches and even ulcers. Here are the signs to look out for:

• Excessive blinking

• Eye redness

• Squinting

• Pawing at the eyes

The solution to dry eye is often simple. If your dog is displaying these signs, see your veterinarian and ask if artificial tear drops can help.

4. Lump on the Eyelid

One of the most obvious eye conditions dogs experience is a growth or lump on the eyelid. While these usually do not bother your pup, it should be checked out by a veterinarian. Your vet may do a biopsy to ensure the lump isn’t cancerous and determine if it should be removed.

5. Glaucoma

When fluid doesn’t properly drain from your dog’s eye, it can cause excessive pressure, which can lead to glaucoma. This eye condition can leave your pup in a lot of pain or cause blindness. Symptoms of glaucoma include:

• Eye tearing

• Redness

• Eye cloudiness

• Dilated pupils

• Eye bulging

Symptoms can be alleviated with medication and surgery.

6. Cataracts

As our dogs get older, cataracts become a common problem. Depending on the severity, cataracts may affect your pup’s eyesight and may eventually lead to blindness. There are a number of signs to indicate cataracts, including:

• Cloudy eyes

• Eye inflammation

• Irritation

• Adopting new habits due to sight loss

While medications help to alleviate eye inflammation, only surgery cfixesan fix the problem. Fortunately, most cataracts are small and only partially affect the dog’s eyesight.

Visit Your Vet

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of eye damage and get ahead of any developing conditions before they worsen. Eye conditions can sometimes be a sign of underlying health issues, so it’s always best to bring your concerns to a vet. Your dog is part of the family -keeping him happy and healthy is key!


The information provided in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian with questions about your pet’s health and before initiating any treatment regimes.

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