Cherry eye (third eyelid adenoma)

The third eyelid of the French Bulldog performs the function of protecting the cornea of ​​the eye from various influences. Pathologies of the 3rd eyelid are most often associated with the anatomical features of the dog. This is a rudimentary organ that performs a protective and auxiliary function for the eye apparatus. The third eyelid protects the cornea of ​​the eye, which becomes vulnerable to mechanical damage when the dog’s head is lowered, pressed, or touched by the eye. This organ also contains an additional lacrimal gland, which produces up to 30% of the tear, washing away small foreign particles from the cornea.

There are several common diseases associated with this organ:

1. Third eyelid prolapse

 2. Adenoma of the third eyelid  of French Bulldogs

3. Hyperplasia

4. Third eyelid volvulus

 Third eyelid prolapse

French Bulldogs often suffer from third eyelid prolapse. Inflammation of this organ may also indicate a disease of the plague of carnivores, the ingress of a small foreign body into the eye, mechanical injuries of the cornea. The prolapse of the third eyelid of the French Bulldog can most often occur at the age of 3-9 months when the eyeball of the animal and its body as a whole is actively growing. Prolapse of the 3rd eyelid can be caused by various reasons – developmental pathologies, mechanical damage to the eye, the development of neoplasms on the cornea, or disorders of the nervous system. If prolapse occurs once, it is treated by simple reduction of the glandular tissue and taking anti-inflammatory and decongestant drugs. If this problem recurs, veterinarians recommend surgery, during which the normal position of the eyelid is restored.

French bulldog red eyes

Adenoma of the Third eyelid

A third eyelid adenoma is a benign tumor that develops in a dog’s eye. With such a disease, the third eyelid swells and begins to bulge out from under the usual eyelid. The symptomatology of such a problem is similar to hyperplasia (the formation of a large number of new cells), so the diagnosis is made only after a biopsy. Benign tumors most often appear in animals over the age of 7 years, but sometimes also in puppies and young adult dogs.


In a normal state, the lacrimal gland is located on the inner side of the third eyelid and seems to be covered by it. With diseases of various kinds (allergic reactions, chronic conjunctivitis, breed predispositions, etc.), it increases in size and falls out. Then it is squeezed (pinched) by the edging of the third eyelid, which causes severe redness and swelling of the tissue.

Clinical signs

In sick dogs, the gland turns red and thickens, resembling a small cherry formed in the corner of the eye. If one eye is affected, it is possible that the other also experience similar symptoms. Most often, such diseases are found in young dogs, up to a year. In addition to redness and increase in size, transparent or mucous discharge from the gland may appear. The disease is often combined with conjunctivitis.


The diagnosis of prolapse of the lacrimal gland of the third eyelid in dogs is made by a veterinarian-ophthalmologist based on visual examination and biomicroscopy of the anterior segment of the eye.


Conservative treatment with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drugs is ineffective. The adenoma is removed by surgery. Optimal treatment is a surgical fixation of the gland on its place from the inside of the third eyelid. After that gland will perform its functions and the risk of dry eye disease will also be prevented. As a rule, such operations are successful. Another treatment is to remove this gland, which can lead to inadequate hydration of the eye. If you ignore the adenoma of the third eyelid, there is a risk that further complications will follow after two or three weeks of the disease. If the hemming does not work, therefore, you need to resort to a radical method (remove it promptly, but you will have to instill eye preparations into the eyes for a rather long time to moisturize the cornea).


 Hyperplasia is an increase in the number of tissue cells, due to which the third eyelid begins to fall out. The swelling that forms in the inner corner of the eye can reach up to 15 mm in diameter. When such a pathology appears, the veterinarian doctor performs a biopsy to make sure that the growth is not associated with oncology. Hyperplasia is treated by fixing the prolapsed gland to the periosteum of the zygomatic bone.

Third eyelid volvulus

 Inversion (volvulus) of the third eyelid occurs due to the folds of the cartilage of this organ. Due to the excessive length, the leg of the third eyelid cartilage, which has a T-shape, sometimes breaks. As a rule, attempts to return the eyelid to its normal state are unsuccessful, and repeated turns can cause inflammation of the third eyelid in the French Bulldog, producing neoplasms. In this case, the only way out is surgery, in which the broken part of the cartilage is excised.

Prevention of prolapse in the French Bulldog

The main cause of prolapse is mechanical damage to the cornea, so protective measures will help reduce the risk of developing pathology. When inflammatory processes appear, you should try to prevent the pet from scratching the formation, and immediately contact your veterinarian. During treatment, the dog may be advised to eat a diet.

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