What is Abnormal Eyelid?
Eyelid abnormalities may be congenital or be caused by injury, infection, or irritants. Types of eyelid infections include entropion, ectropion, lagophthalmos, blepharitis, and eyelash abnormalities. There are a number of breeds that may be more likely to have eyelid abnormalities, especially those which are hereditary. These breeds include: Akita, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pekingese, Bulldog, Pomeranian, Pug, Japanese chin, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Toy and Miniature Poodle, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Clumber Spaniel, English and American Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, English Toy Spaniel, Tibetan Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, Bernese Mountain Dog, Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, and Shar Pei.
Eyelid abnormalities are primarily a hereditary condition though they can be caused and worsened by other problems. Possible symptoms include squinting, involuntary winking, itching, and scar formation. Treatment may range from antibiotics and medicinal treatment to surgical correction of the condition.
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Symptoms of Abnormal Eyelid in Dogs
- Holding the eye shut
- Epiphora (excessive tearing)
- Formation of scars
- Excessive involuntary winking
- Abnormal coloring
- Sores on the cornea
- Inflammation of the eyelid
- Itching of the eyes
This is a condition where the edges of the eyelid turn inward, causing eyelasher to rub against the surface of the eye. This is the most common genetic eyelid defect.
Ectropion is a condition where the slack eyelid edge is turned out, usually causing a crack in the eyelid. It is common and often affects both eyelids. Breeds that have higher risks of ectropion include Bloodhounds, Bull Mastiffs, Great Dane, Newfoundland, St. Bernard, and Spaniel breeds.
Lagophthalmos is an inability to fully close the eyelids, causing the cornea to dry out. It’s possible that this is the result of orbits that aren’t deep enough to hold the eye, which is common in brachycephalic breeds that have a flatter face, such as Bulldogs and Pugs.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids, which can result from general skin inflammation, glandular infections, infection, or irritants.
These can include extra eyelashes or eyelashes that are pointing in the wrong direction on the edge of the eyelid. In most cases, eyelash abnormalities don’t cause problems. However, if the eyelashes are sticking into the eye in any way it can cause pain and damage to the eye.
Causes of Abnormal Eyelid in Dogs
Most cases of eyelid abnormalities are hereditary though there are other possible causes. In lagophthalmos, for example, the inability to close the eye can be caused by orbits that aren’t deep enough to hold the eye, which is linked back to genetics, or by an irregular protrusion of the eye, often the result of a tumor in the eye socket or paralysis in the facial nerves.
Diagnosis of Abnormal Eyelid in Dogs
Because many cases of eyelid abnormalities are hereditary, your veterinarian will likely ask some questions regarding lineage to determine if genetics have a hand in the condition. Otherwise, your veterinarian will ask you about symptoms you’ve observed and conduct a physical exam to determine any damage caused. Your veterinarian may ask questions to determine if there are any possible irritants that could be causing or worsening the condition. Additional diagnostic tests may be required depending on symptoms. With blepharitis, in particular, cultures and biopsies may be necessary for an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment of Abnormal Eyelid in Dogs
Entropion can be relieved by stitches in the lid to turn the hairs away from the eye, medicinal injections into the lid to close the area where the lid is turning inward, or the use of anesthetics to block nerves in the eyelids. In most developed cases of entropion, though, surgical correction is required.
While some external antibiotics may aid in relieving pain, most cases require shortening of the lid through surgery to treat the abnormality.
If it is possible for the cause to be corrected, this will be done. This may include surgery or other corrective methods. If correction is not possible, it will be necessary for the eye to be regularly lubricated, and surgical shortening/closure of the corners of the eye.
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but may include whole-body therapy in cases of generalized inflammation or supportive therapy using hot packs and cleaning of the eye (usually in severe cases).
Recovery of Abnormal Eyelid in Dogs
Recovery and management will depend on the course of treatment administered. In the event of surgery, recovery and follow-ups will be necessary. Most cases require frequent cleaning and attention to the affected eye. Your veterinarian will be able to best prepare you for recovery and management depending on treatment offered.
Abnormal Eyelid Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My Newfoundland has a left swollen upper eyelid in which his hair is sparse, or rather, his hair is seemingly pink. No excessive tearing, exudate or discomfort. No noted particles or insects. I noticed this condition this am when he awoke.
Thank you so much Dr. Turner for providing this service at no cost to the consumer. I greatly appreciate the professional opinion... it can save me a lot of unwarranted cost!! I will follow up with your directions.
I thank you and so does Ned!! Have a great day!
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His left eyelid is drooping/prolapsed from the top.
It sounds like Sirius may have Horner’s Syndrome; this causes drooping of the eye and may be caused by a few different conditions including trauma, nerve inflammation or idiopathic. Also, neck injuries may also cause eye problems and problems with walking; it would be best to have your Veterinarian take a look and make sure that it isn’t something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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