Health Concerns and Caring

What Causes Cherry Eye in a French Bulldog? Solutions & Preventions

What Causes Cherry Eye in French Bulldogs?

The Cherry eye in a French Bulldog is caused by the prolapse of the third eyelid’s gland, leading to a visible red mass in the corner of the eye. This condition can result from genetic factors, weak connective tissue holding the gland in place, or inflammation. Treatment often involves a surgical procedure to reposition the gland, or in some cases, topical treatments or medications can help.

Cherry Eye in French Bulldogs

Cherry Eye Triggers in a French Bulldog

Genetic Predisposition

Due to their brachycephalic skull structure, French Bulldogs are genetically predisposed to developing cherry eye. The breed’s physical characteristics can lead to weaker connective tissues around the eye, making the third eyelid gland more prone to prolapse.

Inflammation and Infection

Inflammation or infections in the eye can trigger cherry eye in French Bulldogs. When the eye tissue becomes inflamed, it can weaken the ligaments that hold the third eyelid’s gland in place, causing it to prolapse.

Physical Trauma

Physical trauma to the eye area, like rough play or an accident, can also be a trigger. Any eye injury can potentially lead to a sudden prolapse of the third eyelid gland, resulting in a cherry eye.


Allergies can sometimes be a contributing factor. The irritation and inflammation caused by allergies can exacerbate the weakening of the tissues and ligaments that hold the gland in place, increasing the risk of its prolapse.

Environmental Irritants

Exposure to environmental irritants like dust, pollen, or chemicals can exacerbate eye problems in French Bulldogs. Such irritants can cause inflammation and irritation, making the eye more susceptible to conditions like cherry eye.

Age and Developmental Factors

Younger dogs are often more prone to developing cherry eye. As French Bulldogs grow and develop, the connective tissues and muscles around the eyes can sometimes be inadequate, leading to the prolapse of the third eyelid gland.

Nutritional Deficiencies

A balanced diet is crucial for overall health, including eye health. Nutritional deficiencies can potentially weaken the tissues around the eyes, indirectly contributing to the occurrence of cherry eye in susceptible breeds like French Bulldogs.

Hormonal Imbalances

Although not directly proven, there’s a theory that hormonal imbalances might play a role in the development of cherry eye. The imbalance can affect tissue integrity and immune responses, potentially leading to eye issues.

Cherry Eye Triggers in a French Bulldog

French Bulldog Cherry Eye Symptoms & Diagnosis

  • Red, swollen, or inflamed mass in the corner of the eye
  • Resembles a cherry or small protrusion
  • Excessive blinking or squinting
  • Excessive tearing or discharge
  • Irritation and rubbing of the affected eye
  • Discomfort or sensitivity to light
  • Potential secondary eye infections
  • May affect one or both eyes

French Bulldog Cherry Eye Treatments & Solutions

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Topical Antibiotic Eye Medication: These medications can help manage infections and reduce inflammation. It’s a temporary solution primarily used to alleviate discomfort before a more permanent treatment.
  • Eye Drops: Specific eye drops can be used to reduce inflammation and provide relief from irritation. They are not a cure but can offer comfort and temporary relief to the affected eye.
  • Massage: In some mild cases, gently massaging the affected eye can sometimes help reposition the prolapsed gland back into place. It’s a temporary solution and should be done cautiously to avoid causing any injury.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress can sometimes reduce swelling and inflammation, offering temporary relief. It’s a short-term measure to be used under veterinary guidance.

Surgical Treatments

  • Tucking Method: This surgical procedure involves creating a “pocket” to hold the prolapsed gland in place. It’s a commonly used technique that allows natural tear production to continue, reducing the risk of dry eye.
  • Imbrication Method: Excess tissue around the prolapsed gland is removed, and the remaining tissue is sutured to secure the gland in place. It helps reduce the gland’s size and fix it securely to prevent recurrence.
  • Removal of the Affected Gland: In severe cases, the affected gland may be entirely removed. However, this is typically a last resort as it can lead to chronic dry eye, requiring ongoing treatment to maintain eye moisture.

French Bulldog Cherry Eye Treatments & Solutions

What if French Bulldog Cherry Eyes Left Untreated? Risks & Complications

  • Increased Discomfort: The dog may experience ongoing discomfort, irritation, or pain in the affected eye, leading to persistent scratching or rubbing.
  • Aggravated Inflammation: Without treatment, inflammation can worsen, potentially leading to additional eye issues, including infections.
  • Decreased Vision: Although rare, severe cases of untreated cherry eye can potentially impact the dog’s vision, particularly if accompanied by other eye health issues.
  • Aesthetic Concerns: The visible red mass remains evident, which, aside from health concerns, alters the dog’s appearance.
  • Risk of Secondary Infections: The prolapsed gland is more exposed and prone to infections, which can lead to more severe eye health problems.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome: The affected eye may not produce enough tears, leading to chronic dry eye, discomfort, and potential vision problems.
  • Potential for Recurrence: Even if the cherry eye self-resolves, there’s a higher likelihood of recurrence without proper treatment.

Caring for a French Bulldog with a Cherry Eye

  • Veterinary Consultation: Seek immediate advice from a veterinarian to assess the severity of the cherry eye and recommend appropriate treatments. Early intervention can prevent complications.
  • Administering Medications: Apply prescribed eye drops or ointments to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Ensure to follow the dosage and application instructions provided by the vet.
  • Cleaning the Eye Area: Clean your French Bulldog’s affected eye with a soft, damp cloth to remove discharge. Always be gentle to avoid causing additional irritation.
  • Avoiding Scratching or Rubbing: Prevent your dog from scratching or rubbing their eye. Consider using an Elizabethan collar if necessary to avoid further injury or irritation.
  • Post-Surgical Care (if surgery is required): Follow the post-operative instructions diligently, including medication administration, cleaning the surgical site, and monitoring for signs of infection or complications.
  • Environmental Management: Minimize exposure to irritants like dust or allergens in the dog’s environment. Maintain cleanliness to reduce the risk of infection or irritation.
  • E-Collar: Use an Elizabethan collar if necessary to prevent the dog from scratching or rubbing its eye, protecting it from further injury.
  • Avoid Bright Light: Minimize exposure to bright lights to avoid discomfort. Create a comfortable, dimly-lit resting space for your dog.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Provide a balanced diet to support overall health. Adequate nutrition aids the immune system and promotes healing.
  • Emotional Support: Offer comfort and reassurance, as dogs can become anxious or stressed. Your support aids their emotional well-being.


Should I seek Medical Help Immediately for a Cherry Eye in my Frenchie?

Yes, consult a vet promptly if your Frenchie has cherry eye. Early diagnosis and treatment can alleviate discomfort and prevent complications, although it’s typically not an emergency.

What Does Cherry Eye Look Like in French Bulldogs?

Cherry’s eye appears as a red, swollen mass protruding from the corner of the dog’s eye. It’s visibly noticeable, resembling a cherry, and can occur in one or both eyes.

Is a French Bulldog Cherry Eye Fatal?

No, cherry eye isn’t fatal. It’s a common condition that, while uncomfortable and potentially leading to complications if untreated, isn’t life-threatening.

What is a French Bulldog Cherry Eye Prognosis?

With prompt treatment, the prognosis for a Frenchie with cherry eye is generally reasonable. Surgical and non-surgical options can effectively manage the condition, and complications are infrequent.

Can Cherry Eye Cause Blindness in a French Bulldog?

Cherry eye typically doesn’t cause blindness, but complications like infections and dry eye syndrome can potentially impact vision if left untreated.

How Common is Cherry Eye in a French Bulldog?

Cherry eye is relatively common in French Bulldogs due to their brachycephalic facial structure, leading to predispositions for eye issues, including the prolapse of the third eyelid’s gland.

How to Massage Cherry Eye French Bulldog?

To massage a French Bulldog with cherry eye, gently use your thumb or index finger to apply soft pressure on the swollen gland, pushing it in a circular motion and towards its normal position in the corner of the eye. Be very gentle to avoid causing discomfort or injury.

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