Cherry Eye, or Prolapsed Nictitans is a common ocular condition and it most commonly occurs in young puppies. What you are seeing is the gland of the 3rd eyelid (Nictitans) that has been detached from the supporting ligament. This can occur spontaneously and there are no known causes as to why this occurs but it is thought that there are genetic predispositions in certain breeds.
Without treatment, prolapse of the third eyelid gland may lead to incomplete closure of the eyelids, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), secondary bacterial infection. Fortunately, surgical treatment is associated with a good outcome and if done properly, the functions of the gland can remain.
This option is NOT recommended! Surgical removal of the gland is avoided due to increased risk for postoperative keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or "dry-eye". Dry-eye can lead to many ocular conditions and requires life long therapy.
This is the preferred method to correct Cherry Eye. The goals of this procedure is to replace the gland back into its correct anatomical location while preserving its functions. There are many techniques that your veterinarian can perform to achieve this. The most common would be the Pocket Technique, commonly referred to as the Morgan Technique. This technique carries a 95% success rate.
Here at Kingsdale, we use our surgical laser to perform the Morgan Pocket Technique. The surgical laser cauterizes blood vessels therefore preventing bleeding which ultimately provides better patient comfort.
In the time in which you are waiting for surgical repair, we do recommend to apply a ocular lubricant throughout the day to prevent injury to the cornea as very large glands can rub against the eye.