Seeing red with 'Cherry Eye'

Picture of a cat walking down a cat tower with caption, is your cat slowing down?

What is it?

‘Cherry Eye’ is another term for the prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. This gland, known as the nictitating membrane, is responsible for producing tears in the eye. Normally it is tucked down behind the third eyelid, out of sight. However, if it prolapses or “pops out”, a pink bulge will appear in the corner of the eye.

What causes it?

Most cases of cherry eye are believed to result from the inadequate development of a ligament that should secure the gland behind the third eyelid. The prolapse of the gland typically occurs suddenly during development, and both eyes can be affected.

How is it treated?

Cherry eye typically requires surgery to reposition the gland back into its original location. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and is a day surgery, requiring no overnight stay. Patients are discharged with antibiotic eye ointment and oral medications for pain relief. Additionally, an e-collar is provided, which needs to be worn for two weeks after surgery. A follow-up examination for your pet will be scheduled two weeks post-op to ensure proper healing.

What to expect after surgery?

The success rate is close to 100% in experienced hands for small and medium breeds. However, the longer the gland has been prolapsed, the more likely complications are to occur. The issue tends to be more complex in large or giant breeds, and in some cases, they may require a second procedure.

How can we help?

Our experienced veterinary team can diagnose and perform high-level cherry eye repair surgery.

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