Canine Eye Surgery

Dogs rely heavily on their vision to navigate the world around them, making eye health a critical aspect of their overall well-being. From congenital conditions to age-related ailments, various eye issues can affect our furry companions.

Fortunately, advances in veterinary medicine offer a range of surgical interventions to address these concerns and restore clarity to their sight. This article explores the world of canine eye surgery, shedding light on the procedures, benefits, and post-operative care involved.

Table of Contents

Understanding Canine Eye Conditions

Congenital Disorders

Some dogs are born with eye abnormalities, such as cherry eye, entropion (inward rolling of eyelids), ectropion (outward rolling of eyelids), or eyelash abnormalities. These conditions can impair vision and lead to discomfort if left untreated.

Age-Related Issues

As dogs age, they may develop cataracts, glaucoma, or retinal degeneration, diminishing their ability to see clearly. These conditions can progress over time, impacting their quality of life and requiring surgical intervention to manage effectively.

Trauma and Injuries

Accidents, fights, or foreign objects can cause traumatic injuries to a dog’s eyes, ranging from corneal lacerations to globe rupture. Prompt surgical treatment is often necessary to prevent permanent damage and preserve vision.

Canine Eye Surgeries

Cataract Surgery

Cataracts, characterized by the clouding of the eye’s lens, can severely impair vision if left untreated. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision. This procedure is highly successful and can significantly improve a dog’s quality of life.


Distichiasis refers to an abnormality where extra eyelashes grow along the eyelid margin, irritating the cornea and leading to discomfort or corneal ulcers. Surgical treatment involves removing the extra eyelashes or destroying their follicles to prevent regrowth. This procedure, typically performed under general anesthesia, aims to alleviate discomfort and protect the cornea from further damage.

Nasolacrimal duct surgery dogs

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction can cause excessive tearing, eye discharge, and discomfort in dogs. Surgical intervention may be necessary to open or bypass the blocked duct, allowing tears to drain properly. This procedure, known as dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), aims to restore normal tear drainage and alleviate associated symptoms.

Cherry eye in dogs surgery

Cherry eye, the prolapse of the third eyelid’s tear gland, is a common issue in certain dog breeds. Surgery involves repositioning the gland to its proper location within the eye to prevent dry eye and discomfort.

Orbital surgeries

Orbital surgeries encompass a range of procedures performed to address conditions affecting the eye socket or surrounding structures. These may include removing tumors, repairing fractures, or reconstructing damaged tissue following trauma. Orbital surgeries aim to preserve vision, restore facial symmetry, and alleviate pain or discomfort associated with orbital disorders.


Glaucoma is a condition characterized by increased intraocular pressure, leading to optic nerve damage and vision loss. Surgical options for glaucoma include procedures such as trabeculectomy, laser therapy, or implantation of drainage devices to reduce intraocular pressure and preserve vision. Glaucoma surgery aims to manage the condition and prevent further optic nerve damage.

Eyelid surgery for dogs

Eyelid surgery encompasses various procedures aimed at correcting eyelid abnormalities, such as entropion, ectropion, or eyelid tumors. Surgical techniques may involve tightening or loosening the eyelid, excising abnormal tissue, or reconstructing eyelid defects. Eyelid surgery aims to improve eyelid function, protect the eye, and enhance overall ocular health.

Corneal surgery in dogs

Various corneal conditions, such as ulcers, dystrophies, or perforations, may require surgical intervention to repair and restore the integrity of the cornea. Procedures range from simple suturing to more complex techniques like corneal grafting.

Retinal reattachment surgery

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina detaches from its underlying tissue, leading to vision loss. Retinal reattachment surgery involves reattaching the detached retina using techniques such as scleral buckling, vitrectomy, or pneumatic retinopexy. This procedure aims to restore vision by reestablishing the connection between the retina and underlying structures.

Eye cancer surgery in dogs

Eye cancer, such as melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma, may require surgical removal of the affected tissue to prevent spread and preserve vision. Surgical options may include tumor excision, enucleation (removal of the eye), or orbital exenteration (removal of the eye and surrounding tissue). Eye cancer surgery aims to eradicate cancerous cells and improve the dog’s prognosis and quality of life.

General Anesthesia in Your Pet

General anesthesia is commonly used during canine eye surgery to ensure the patient remains unconscious and pain-free throughout the procedure. Prior to anesthesia, thorough pre-anesthetic assessment and monitoring are conducted to assess the dog’s health status and minimize risks. During anesthesia, the dog’s vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, are closely monitored by trained veterinary professionals to ensure safety and optimal anesthesia depth. After surgery, the dog is carefully monitored during the recovery period to ensure a smooth transition from anesthesia and to manage any post-operative pain or complications effectively.

Post-Operative Care and Recovery

Following canine eye surgery, diligent post-operative care is essential to ensure a successful recovery:

  • Medication Administration: Administer prescribed eye drops, ointments, or oral medications as directed by the veterinarian to prevent infection, reduce inflammation, and manage pain.
  • Protective Measures: Use an Elizabethan collar or other protective devices to prevent the dog from rubbing or scratching at the surgical site, which could impede healing.
  • Restricted Activity: Limit physical activity and prevent access to potentially hazardous environments to minimize the risk of complications or injury.
  • Follow-Up Visits: Attend scheduled follow-up appointments to monitor healing progress, assess vision, and address any concerns or complications promptly.

Conclusion: Restoring Vision, Ensuring Well-Being

Canine eye surgery plays a crucial role in preserving and enhancing the vision of our beloved pets. By addressing a wide range of eye conditions, these surgical interventions not only improve visual acuity but also alleviate discomfort and enhance the overall quality of life for dogs.

As pet owners, it’s essential to stay vigilant for signs of eye problems and seek prompt veterinary attention when needed. With advances in veterinary ophthalmology and skilled surgical expertise, we can continue to brighten the outlook for our canine companions, ensuring they enjoy a clear and vibrant view of the world around them.

Animal Eye Clinic

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Wednesday 9am – 5pm

Saturday – Closed

Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities

Every Tuesday and Friday

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