Do Golden Retrievers Have Eye Problems? 7 Common & Solutions


I don’t think there is a kinder eye than the eye of a golden retriever, and no more cheerful smile than theirs.

Lately, I started noticing my dog pumping into things (more than usual) and they just didn’t seem their normal self. I figured that they must have some vision problems, and this got me worried.

This made me wonder if goldens, in particular, were more prone to certain eye problems than other dogs, so I went ahead and did some digging on my own.

So, do golden retrievers have eye problems? Yes, golden retrievers can have eye problems such as pigmentary uveitis, corneal damage, dry eye, pink eye, glaucoma, entropion, eyelid mass, cherry eye, lenticular sclerosis, and cataracts. Some of them are treatable and some can cause vision loss.

To learn about these problems, what causes them, how they are treated, and – most importantly – how to catch these signs early on so you can significantly increase their chances of avoiding long-term damage, keep reading…

7 Common Golden Retrievers Eye Problems

Golden Retriever looking up to illustrate the answers to do golden retrievers have eye problems.

All dogs are prone to eye problems, but here are the 7 most common eye problems in golden retrievers:

  1. Pigmentary uveitis
  2. Corneal damage
  3. Dry eye
  4. Pink eye
  5. Glaucoma
  6. Entropion
  7. Cataracts 

Let’s break them down and see the signs and treatment options for each of them. It goes without saying that this article should only be used to enrich your information, and not to actually diagnose or treat your dog yourself.

Pigmentary uveitis

Golden retriever uveitis (GRU) is a disease that mostly appears in golden retrievers and it is not associated with infections or systemic diseases.

The cause is still unknown but most scientists and vets think it’s an inherited disease that gets passed through genetics from one generation to another.

Pigmentary uveitis is inflammation of the uveal tract, it is composed of the iris (the colored part of the eye), the vascular components inside the eye (the choroid), and the ciliary body (the structure behind the iris also it produces fluid in the eye).

Also pigmentary uveitis can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, or blindness.

Symptoms 

  • Eye Redness
  • Cloudiness
  • Inflammation in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Squinting
  • Increased tearing

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take them to the vet because the treatment will be different from one dog to another and it will depend on the individual dog’s condition.

Treatment

  • Oral anti-inflammatory 
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drop
  • Immunosuppressant to treat glaucoma.

Corneal damage

What can cause corneal damage in dogs is trauma. It is by far the most common cause of Corneal damage in dogs.

Trauma such as laceration, a cat scratch, the dog rubbing its eye on the carpet or any dusty furniture, chemical burn (shampoo), or any contact with a sharp object.

Less commonly, it can be caused by a bacterial infection (yeast). 

Symptoms 

  • Redness
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing their eye
  • Tearing
  • Hurting noises

Treatment 

It depends on wether it’s corneal ucler, corneal abrasions, or descemetocele present.

Corneal ulcer’s treatment will be surgery and since the surgery can be for many reasons and in many ways, their vet will decide what is best for them.

 Corneal abrasions’s treatment is prescribed medication and they will heal from three to five days, or they can take antibiotic drops but it is only effective for a short time.

Dry eye

Dry eye can be very painful and it will make their eye really sensitive and they might paw at their eye more than usual, and they will make sure that this area is not being touched.

Symptoms

  • Red eyes
  • Squinting
  • Keeping their eyes close
  • Blinking excessively
  • Covering their eyes with their paws 

For your vet to diagnose dry eyes they will conduct a test in which they will place a sterile paper on their eye to measure the tear that is presented.

Pink eye

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva or inflammation of the outer layers of the eyeball and eyelids.

Usually, the infection will be in one eye but sometimes the condition can be in both eyes.

It is the most common infection of dogs eyes.

Symptoms

  • Redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Their Eyelids will stick together
  • Squinting
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Touching their eyes with their paws a lot
  • Stringy discharge 

 Treatment

Usually the treatment will be an eyedrop but depending on the condition, the vet may also have more meds for you. The earlier you get them to the vet the better, of course. However, this is not a very serious condition and they will be fine.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma can cause your dog severe pain and it could lead to the loss of their vision, glaucoma is known to appear in purebred dogs.

Symptoms 

  • Redness of the eye
  • Squinting
  • Tearing 
  • Cloudy eyes
  • They will avoid the light
  • A Difference in the size of the pupil
  • Rubbing their eyes with paws or anything
  • Eye pain
  • Weak blink response 
  • Vision issues (Pumping into people, can’t make eye contact, or hitting the wall)
  • Fluttering eyelids
  • Swollen eye
  • The appearance of blood vessels in the white of the eye

Treatment 

  • Medication to control the pressure on the eye
  • Eye drops
  • Surgery (the most common treatment in this condition)

Entropion

This condition is when the eyelid rolls inward, this rolling will cause the hair on the surface of the eyelid to rub against the cornea.

Entropion is painful, and it will interfere with their vision and it could lead to pigment developing on the cornea, corneal ulcers, or perforations.

Symptoms 

  • Squinting
  • Watery eyes
  • They will keep their eyes closed as possible

Treatment 

This condition will need surgery in which they will remove a section of the skin from the affected eyelid.

Cataracts

Cataracts is a disease that will make their eyes cloudy, it develops within the crystalline lens.

It will change from a small dot to the complete lens.

Cataracts do not permit the image to form on the retina, and in the end, will lead to vision loss.

Symptoms 

  • Cloudy pupils
  • Increased sleeping
  • Swollen eyes
  • Redness of the blood vessels in the whites of eyes
  • Squinting
  • Change in the pupil’s size (also the pupil will be different from an eye to another)
  • The pupils will not respond to the light
  • Blinking more than usual
  • Signs of vision loss
  • Change in their behavior (for example not wanting to play)

Treatment

The treatment depends on the condition and their stage.

If it is in an early stage an eye drop will do, however, in most conditions it will require surgery.

Unfortunately if the disease is caught in a late stage I am afraid that there is no cure but their vet can give them a prescribed medicine to control it a little bit.

Did your golden retriever’s eyes change color? You can learn why dogs change eye color here. You can also read here how can goldens have blue eyes and what does it mean.

Related Questions 

Why are my golden retriever’s eyes red? 

The most common causes are traumas or an eye injury such as scratches, allergies, or bacterial infection. It can be caused by an underlying illness if their eyes are dry too, they will need to go to the vet because it can be painful for them and it may lead to long-term damage.   

why does my golden retriever have eye boogers? 

Eye boogers are normal for dogs, but they also can be a sign of conjunctivitis, it is an inflammation of the lining of your dog’s eye. Possible causes for Conjunctivitis are allergies, tear duct issue, birth defects, dry eye, tumors, injury, distemper, or  an unknown matter

Sources

Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Glaucoma in Dogs

Disclaimer
This article was reviewed and edited by a vet for accuracy, but it doesn’t replace your vet.

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