Cherry eye is a common term for the prolapse of the third eyelid gland. It can present as a minor inflammation in the inner corner of the eye, all the way to a large mass like structure that’s protruding from the white portion of the eye. The purpose of a dog’s third eyelid is to serve additional protection to the eye itself and to help in producing lubrication for the eye. When this “extra” eyelid becomes inflamed and protrudes, it is then called a cherry eye. The red like structure peeking over the white portion of the eye is how the condition got its name!


  • The obvious red tissue protrusion in the eye.
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Squinting of the eye, or pawing at the eye.
  • Eye redness
  • Swelling in the eye area
  • Impaired vision
  • Any changes in the appearance of the eye
  • Any other symptom that causes concern with the pet owner is possible!


There are a couple of different approaches to a cherry eye revision. The first option is to reposition the gland and stitch it back into place. This is the ideal option since the pet will still have the gland itself that helps to lubricate the eye. Lubrication of your pet’s eye is necessary for its normal function. Without this gland, chronic dry eye will be inevitable for your pet. In the past, complete removal of the gland was the standard treatment. It is now most known as a last-stitch effort, since removing the gland will cause chronic dry eye that will need to be managed with daily eye drops for the rest of the pet’s life. It is always possible to have a reoccurrence of the cherry eye with the first surgical approach, but many pet owners choose to take that route first and avoid daily management with eye drops. This isn’t the end of the world, but it does make you and your pet’s life a bit more challenging with daily medications.


In the video below you can watch the pocket technique in repairing a cherry eye.


Read more about cherry eye in the article “Cherry eye in dogs” on our blog.