Cherry Eye - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Cherry Eye. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Eye Drops, Ice Pack, Acupressure  

Posted by Vicki (Mesquite, Tx) on 01/12/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Hand Manipulation, Ice Packs & Similasan eye drops for Cherry Eye

I have a little male Chihuahua/JRT mix dog that looks like a puggle (blocky head, slightly bug eyes). About 3 years ago, when he was around a year old, I went on a trip and he cried the whole 3 days I was gone. He had a cherry eye when I got back. He also suffers from some sort of allergies and they'd been bothering him also.

I couldn't afford a vet & didn't believe it was necessary anyway, so I thought I'd try to work it back in myself. I had some Simalisan redness relief eye drops, so I put a few drops in his eye, then an ice compress for a few minutes. This shrank it down a bit, so I closed his eye and began working the lid around in a tiny circle, pressing in toward the corner where the "cherry" was. I keep my fingernails really, really short, by the way, not even out to the ends of my fingers. If you have long fingernails, they'd need to clipped off to do this because you have to form a little compress "tool" with your thumb and either your first two or first three fingers held all together, depending on the size of the dog's eye or what will contain the "cherry" in the little space between the ends of your fingers.

After a few minutes I could feel it slightly "pop" back in. I pressed on it for a couple of minutes with my thumb, then I put the ice compress back on for a few more minutes, gave him a weight appropriate dose of benedryl liquid and let him go. I put the drops in again a few more times the next couple of days, and an ice pack on whenever it looked like the eye was getting irritated the rest of his allergy season. It's been 3 years and it hasn't popped out again.

I also changed my dogs' food to one that doesn't have any grains in it, because his granny dog has really bad corn allergies and I figured that might be part of the cause of cherry eye in his case (she itches and looses hair).


Posted by Violet (St. Pete, Fl) on 09/15/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Cherry eye is an unsightly swelling and protruding of the tear duct gland in dogs (prolapsed gland). It is most commonly seen in Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Boxers.

Vets will usually recommend expensive surgery to correct this, but I was able to correct it at home on my own dog.

When my male Boston Terrier got cherry eye I started doing research and was dismayed to find that the surgery has a poor success rate. Even after surgery the cherry eye can come back, and I read so many messages from people who had shelled out hundreds of dollars for more than one surgery. But I came across a non surgucal fix on a bulldog website and I tried it for myself. It was super simple, it was cheap, it look less than 15 minutes, and it worked!

Here are the instructions I somewhat followed from Bullwrinkle.com:

"There are old timers with extensive experience with "Cherry Eye Condition" that recommend an alternative to surgery, especially those breeds that have high surgical risks. The first thing that is done to "treat" this condition is to prescribe an antibiotic ointment, second use warm compresses to the corner of the eye, third is to massage the gland lightly with the index finger applying even gentle pressure in a circular motion. Once the tear duct becomes "unblocked" even if it is out of its normal place it is now of a size that usually can be returned by pulling very gently the outer tissue and "popping" the tear duct back into place. You may have to replace the tear duct several times over a two week period, sometimes I have heard for even a month, but then it does not require surgery, and the dog as a general rule has no more problems with the condition whatsoever. We urge new pet owners to be very careful when attempting to use this technique because you can cause injury to the eyeball if you scratch it when trying to massage the tear duct. Try to find another owner of a bulldog or similar breed to walk you through it the first time to make sure you are doing it correctly. We do urge you to seek veterinarian assistance if the condition worsens or if this technique fails to make an improvement. There are some bulldogs that have an inflamatory disease as well and you may see a worsening of the condition. Inflamatory conditions must be treated with an anti-inflamatory antibiotic drop or ointment."

I made a few changes to the above instructions. I used OTC lubricating eye drops I bought at a pharmacy. They were called Gen Teal. I trimmed my fingernail all the way down. I did the massage and popped the gland back in keeping light pressure on it for about 5 minutes. I repeated the process for the next 2 days but I saw immediate results after the first day. It has been 3 months and we have not had another occurence of cherry eye!