Cherry Eye

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs can be seen when it prolapses out from behind the third eyelid (i.e. nicotinic gland) displaying a rosy oval-shaped protrusion.

Normally, in its most natural position, your bulldog puppy cherry eye is covered and protected by the third eyelid, thus it is rarely notice.

In contrast to us, your French Bulldogs Puppies, English Bulldogs Puppies, and American Bulldog Puppies have three eyelids, the typical top and bottom, and a third passive one shaped like a pink membrane that originates from the nasal corner of the eye.

THIRD EYELID: Your bulldog 3ed eyelid medical term is “nicotinic membrane”, the third eyelid helps to:

  1. PROTEC THE CORNEA: Physically protect your bulldog cornea by acting as a windshield wiper
  2. DISTRIBUTE TEARS: Helps distribute the tears over the eye
  3. SHIELD THE CHERRY: imbeds, shield, and protects they tear gland (cherry)

Your bulldog puppy third eyelid also contains lymphoid tissue, suggesting immune protection of the eye

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

BULLDOG TEAR FILIM: The Eye Tear Film combines 3 parts:

  1. LIPID (fat)
  2. MUCIN (Mucus)
  3. WATER (Aqueous) your bulldog tear film water part is produced by two glands. There is one just above the eye in the upper lead area and a second one (The “Cherry Gland”) that is embedded in the third eyelid

The cherry gland produce Tears, Lubricate, hydrate, and preserve your bulldog cornea

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PROLAPSE CAUSE:

  • FIBROUS ATTACHMENT: Weakens of gland fibrous attachments
  • BLOCKAGE: Tear duct blockage that leads to swelling
  • VASCULAZATION: Poor circulation
Cherry Eye in Bulldogs  and French Bulldogs BILATERAL
  •  INFECTION: conjunctivitis, scleritis, dry eye
  • INFLAMMATION: entropion and Distichias
  • SKULL CONFIRMATION: Skull bone confirmation (brachycephalic, compressed head and bulging eyes)
  • INHERITANCE: Genetics
  • UNKNOWN: The “cherry gland” prolapse cause is often unknown

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs is more common in young bulldogs and french bulldog puppies and is usually due to weakness of the ligamentous attachments.

V4B Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs comfort pluse

V4B Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRVENTIVION :

Cherry eyes can often be massaged back into place.

In contrast to most eye problems in bulldogs, the cherry eye in its milder form is usually a non-emergency.

Nevertheless, seek veterinary advice for your bulldog puppy cherry eye as soon as you can, especially if you can’t massage it back under the lid or if it’s getting worse and/or with any signs of discomfort.

V4B Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB :

Cherry eye medical management includes ophthalmic anti-inflammatory or/and ophthalmic antibiotics. Massaging the gland back in can be attempted, however, this maneuver is rarely a long-term solution, thus surgical correction is recommended.

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs pre op

Bulldog Cherry Eye SURGICAL REPAIR:

TACKING (anchoring):

  • ONE STICH: is a single stitch technique
  • NO CUTS: There is no cutting involved
  • SIMPLE: Its more commonly done due to simplicity
  • UNRELIABLE: Its holding power is limited and the chances for re-prolapsing are high


RE-PROLAPSE: Suture or stitch becomes undone prematurely which can lead to an immediate re-prolapse.

WARNING BULLDOG CHERRY EYE POST OP / ULCER: Suture or stitch becomes undone, rubs over the cornea, and causes an injury (bulldog cornea ulcer)

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs suture pockt

WARNING CHERRY EYE SURGICAL FAILURE: The chances for failure are much higher with this technique, especially with bulldogs and French bulldogs (Brachycephalic)

POCKET (imbrication) :

  • POCKET: A “pocket” is created to help burry and secure the gland back inside the third eyelid.
  •  CUTS: It includes cuts on the two sides of the gland and tissue removal to help create the “pocket”.
  • SUTURES: The cherry is then pushed into the pocket and the 2 sides are pulled together tightly over it with suture placement.
  • FIBROTIC BAND: The sutured cuts will be fibrously forming a strong tough band over the gland to hold it from re-prolapsing.


WARNING RE-PROLAPSE: Suture or stitch becomes undone prematurely which can lead to an immediate re-prolapse.

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs pockt done

WARNING ULCER: Like the taking method if the stitch or sutures become undone prematurely it can scratch, injure, and cause a corneal ulcer (bulldog cornea ulcer)
WARNINGPOST-OP SWELL: A short-term post-op swell (edema) is likely, anti-inflammatory ophthalmic ointment might help.

MY METHOD / HYBRID / COMBO: for the best outcome, I combine both techniques.

The “POCKET” provides a long term seal 

The “TUCKING”  provide a short term anchor during the healing/swelling period

Dr. Kraemer’s Cherry Eye in Bulldogs  and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS :


Cherry eye Tip #1 SUTURE: To prevent unintended suture injury to the cornea, I prefer rapidly dissolving suture material.

Cherry Eye Tip #2 KNOT: The suture knot should always be placed on the outside surface of the third eyelid membrane to avoid contact with the cornea. Any corneal contact with the suture material can lead to abrasions/wounds/cornea injury (cornea ulcers).

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs post op

Cherry Eye Tip #3 PREVENTION: In many bulldogs and French bulldog puppies only one side prolapses, yet often the other cherry eye prolapse soon after. To prevent the other gland from prolapsing, the unaffected gland may be anchored & imbricated


Cherry Eye Warning #1 OTHER EYE:  In many bulldogs, there’s a good chance that the opposite eye will also “cherry”

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs Warning #2 RE-PROLAPSE: Up to 30% fr surgically repaired cherry eyes might re-prolapse, % is the highest when the anchor method is used and is the lowest when my combo method is performed.

Cherry Eye Warning #3 TIMING: Cherry Eye Surgery in bulldogs is more likely to be successful if it’s done soon after the gland prolapses.

Over time, the prolonged chronic swelling of the gland can make the surgical re-positioning more difficult, thus increasing the chance for recurrence.

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs  and French Bulldogs eng bulldog puppy

Warning #4 SUTRE TYPE: I don’t recommend using thick and slow absorbent suture material. I used a very thin and rapidly absorbing suture

Cherry Eye Warning #5 PRESERVATION: Most Important, as much as 40% of your bulldog’s total tear production is situated in the third eyelid (the “cherry” origin), therefore the surgical repair must include the preservation of the “cherry”.

Removal of the “cherry” will deplete you bulldog tear production, and increase the chances of developing an eye condition called “bulldog dry eye” ( Bulldog Keratoconjunctivitis Sica (KCS).

Warning #5 REMOVAL: Removal of the “cherry” is strictly reserved for rare cases of cancer and trauma.

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs  and French Bulldogs rescue puppy

Warning #6 PAIN:  post-op blinking and squinting are consistent with pain and are usually due to a corneal injury, and should be considered an emergency,  please see your vet as soon as possible. The chances are that the suture material or knot is rubbing against the cornea and forming a corneal ulcer.

Bulldog cherry Eye Warning #7  SWELL & REDNESS: Expect some postoperative swelling after cherry eye repair, especially with the pocket technique. This should slowly resolve and the eye should be comfortable and normal in appearance after about 2-3 weeks. If the eye appears suddenly painful or unusual in appearance, have it rechecked as soon as possible.

An Ounce of PREVENTION Is Worth a Pound of CURE

Pododermatitis in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs store