Eye issues are just as dangerous for dogs as they are for humans. While there are many relatively benign conditions, such as seasonal allergies, that will clear up on their own with no lasting damage, there are also eye problems that can result in blindness or provide symptoms of internal illnesses.

Blepharitis in dogs

This is an infection that affects the eyelids and surrounding tissues rather than the eyes themselves. Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Swollen, itchy eyelids
  • Watery or mucus-filled discharge
  • Crusted flaky skin around the eyes, which may cause eyelids to be stuck together

Causes of blepharitis 

  • Genetic abnormalities, especially in breeds with excessive facial skin folds and other exaggerated features. Eyelashes that grow inward, in an errant fashion, or through the eyelid. These conditions are also genetic and more likely to affect specific breeds.
  • Allergic reactions to insect bites, flea infestation, and medications.
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Staph or strep bacterial infections 
  • Viral infections

Diagnosis and treatment of blepharitis in dogs

Diagnosis will require a trip to a vet hospital, where samples of infectious material will be taken to be analyzed to determine the cause. Bacterial infections will be treated with antibiotics, while congenital deformities may require surgery to alleviate persistent occurrences.

Conjunctivitis in dogs

This is the same type of conjunctivitis, known as pink eye, that affects humans. It is an infection of the conjunctiva, the tissue that covers the eye.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Red eyes
  • Swollen or stuck-together eyelids
  • Watering eyes
  • Intense itching that causes constant pawing at eyes

Causes of conjunctivitis:

  • Allergic reactions to mold, pollen, and other common allergens. Seasonal and not contagious.
  • Upper respiratory or other types of viral infections. Highly contagious.
  • Staph or strep bacterial infections. Also highly contagious.

Diagnosis and treatment

Although conjunctivitis is usually not serious, some of the symptoms are similar to more dangerous conditions, so a trip to the veterinarian would be advisable.

Cold compresses are good for relief of symptoms and to remove excessive buildup of discharge from the eyelids. Antibiotics will be prescribed for bacterial infections and antihistamines for allergic reactions.


This is a very serious condition, caused by the buildup of pressure inside the eye. If it is not diagnosed and treated soon upon onset, damage to the optic nerve and blindness will result. Symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Dilated or unresponsive pupils
  • Eyes that begin to recede inside the eye socket
  • Obvious loss of vision

Causes of glaucoma

While glaucoma can be caused by injury or infection, it is usually genetic in origin and occurring with greater incidence in specific breeds.


While many cases of glaucoma don't respond to treatment and result in eventual blindness or removal of affected eyes, veterinary care through a company like Grove Center Veterinary Hospital can save eyesight in some cases with aggressive treatment, including medication to relieve pressure in the affected eyes.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in preserving sight for affected dogs, so if your dog exhibits any symptoms of glaucoma, they should be taken to an animal hospital as soon as possible for an evaluation.