6 Common French Bulldog Eye Problems – Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

FRENCH BULLDOG looking at the camera

Like any other domestic animal, dogs can experience health problems that may threaten their quality of life.

Unfortunately, eye problems are among the most prevalent illnesses that can affect your French Bulldog.

These conditions can occur due to various factors ranging from breed type, hereditary diseases, injuries, and infections, among others. 

Common French Bulldog eye problems are dry eye, entropion, corneal ulcers, and pinkeye. These optical issues have been attributed to the fact that Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed. Their wrinkled faces and bulging eyes, to some degree, expose them to more eye problems compared to other breeds.

This article will go into detail to list and define some of the typical French Bulldog eye problems.

As a licensed veterinary doctor, I’ll then outline some of their common causes and signs, and finally, look at the diagnostic steps and preventive measures to take if your dog suffers any of these conditions.

Dry Eye

Dry eye french bulldog

Scientifically referred to as keratoconjunctivitis, this condition causes inflammation of the eye cornea – the transparent membrane that covers the pupil and iris.

In simple terms, this condition occurs when your Bulldog does not make enough tears to lubricate the eye.

The deficiency is made worse by the visible greenish or thick yellowish discharge produced.  

Causes and Symptoms

Keratoconjunctivitis (KCS) in a Bulldog can be caused by Hypothyroidism, underlying infections such as canine distemper, a congenital defect, or a cherry eye removal.

Signs for keratoconjunctivitis include:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Eyes sensitive eyes to light
  • Dry, opaque, and dull cornea
  • Constant pawing and scratching of the eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Thick yellow/green ocular discharge

Keratoconjunctivitis primarily affects middle-aged and older Frenchies.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Thick eye discharge in your French Bulldog may be confusing and should not be automatically presumed to result from keratoconjunctivitis condition.

An immediate visit to a veterinarian is recommended for an accurate diagnosis.

Note that managing keratoconjunctivitis in a French Bulldog may be a lifetime commitment that involves ointments or eye drops prescribed by a veterinarian.

The objective is to replace tear film and induce tear production to protect the cornea.

Cherry Eye

cherry eye

Dogs have three eyelids. The third eyelid, known as a ‘nictitating membrane,’ plays a vital role in helping a dog see.

This is made possible by the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the eye through tear production.

The Cherry Eye is seen through the prolapse of the nictitating membrane.

Here, the gland or eyelid gets dispositioned, forming a heavy red/pink swell.  

Causes and Symptoms

The Cherry Eye is a congenital matter in Frenchies. Once it affects one eye, the chances are high that it may spread to the next eye. 

Once the fibrous attachments break after becoming weak, there is free movement of tear glands which then irritates the eyes.

The irritation leads to swelling that finally forms the red/pink swelling.

Be sure to check the next eye for a similar infection if your French Bulldog suffers a Cherry Eye condition.

Signs of Cherry Eye infection include:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the eye
  • A bulge at the corner of the eye (pink)
  • Eyes unable to close
  • Excessive tearing
  • Discharge from the eye

The best thing about a Cherry Eye in a Frenchie is that it is a painless, non-life-threatening condition.

That should, however, not be a reason to ignore the situation once noticed in your French Bulldog as it may lead to other serious eye problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A veterinarian can quickly treat a Cherry Eye through two options:

  • Stitching the gland back to its position
  • Surgically removing the entire gland

The above two procedures are performed after examining the eye to diagnose the Cherry Eye condition by a vet.

Some breeders reportedly try to correct the condition by massaging the swollen gland back to its place.

However, you should not do this if you have no prior experience.

Entropion

entropion french bulldog

Entropion is a painful eye infection that causes the eyelids to roll inwards, rubbing the eye surface, which can be very uncomfortable for a Frenchie.

French Bulldogs suffer this condition more due to their droopy eyelids.

Causes and Symptoms

Trauma to the eye and old age can cause entropion, making the saggy eyelid susceptible to rolling inwards.

Entropion may also be caused by an inflamed eye infection or inherited from parents. Birth abnormalities in puppies may also cause Entropion.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for an Entropion infection include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Eye rubbing
  • Milky or cloudy eyes
  • Excessive eye tearing
  • Eye discharge
  • Squinting
  • Eyelids rolled inwards

Excessive scratching of the eye surface, if left unattended, may cause the eyes of your French Bulldog to start bulging outwards, causing further discomfort.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Entropion is manageable when diagnosed in time but can cause blindness and scarring if left unattended for long.

The good thing about this condition in your Frenchie is the easy detection that will openly show due to rolled-in eyelids.

The condition can be corrected through a surgical process by a qualified vet after conducting a thorough examination of the eye.

A vet may prescribe other anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics for home care as the dog heals.

You can prevent entropion by planning regular check-ups of the dog by a vet who will advise on other best ways to care for your French Bulldog.

Pinkeye

pink eye french bulldog

Scientifically referred to as conjunctivitis, this eye disease affects the eye coating causing itchiness and inflammation.

The condition is also very prevalent in humans. It can affect a French Bulldog at a very tender age.

Causes and Symptoms

Some of the common causes of Pinkeye include allergies caused by perfumes, mold, pollen, dust, or smoke.

A Frenchie may also contact conjunctivitis from an eye injury when rolling in the yard or on a carpet.

Some telltale signs of a Pinkeye infection in a French Bulldog may include:  

  • Thick discharge
  • Eye redness
  • Squinting
  • Watery eyes
  • Sticky and puffy eyelids

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pinkeye problems are mostly non-life-threatening to most dogs and will heal within weeks with proper medication.

However, the best medication should be administered based on the underlying causes, as established by a qualified vet.

Your vet may prescribe topical eye drops to reduce inflammation and induce tear production to help eye lubrication.

Corneal Ulcers

corneal ulcer french bulldog

Also referred to as Ulcerative Keratitis, Corneal Ulcers are an infection that can cause severe eye dryness and other infections.

This is always a result of lost deep tissue layers in the cornea. These ulcers fall under two categories: deep and artificial.

Superficial corneal ulcers affect the epithelium layer and heal within 1-2 weeks if treated properly.

On the other side, deep corneal ulcerative Keratitis penetrates past the epithelium into the Descemet’s membrane.

Causes and Symptoms

Corneal ulcers in dogs are caused by many factors that include:

  • Trauma to the eye may be caused by rubbing
  • Untreated, dry eye
  • Chemical burns caused by inadequate grooming
  • Injuries caused by sharp objects

Signs of Corneal Ulcers in a French Bulldog range from:

  • Eye redness
  • Ocular discharge
  • Excessive blinking and squinting
  • Holding eyes closed for some time

Diagnosis and Treatment

Corneal ulcers are very painful and can cause discomfort to the Frenchie.

Once a vet examines and confirms the condition, they will likely prescribe some pain-relieving medications and antibiotic ointments.

Conclusion

There are several common eye problems that your Frenchie may encounter. This is due to the breed’s nature and the shape and makeup of their face and nose.

Continuously monitor and clean your Frenchie’s face, and make an appointment with the vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary. 

As much as you might be able to read a few symptoms when an infection occurs, it is advised to verify the condition by consulting with a vet before administering any home treatments.

FRENCH BULLDOG licking her face

Sources

  • Vet 4 Bulldog: Eye Problems in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs
  • Bullie Post: The Eyes Have It, 9 Common Bulldog Eye Problems
  • Ask Frenchie: French Bulldog Eye Problems-Why They Occur?
  • All About Frenchies: French Bulldog Eye Problems – What to Know

Click here to read my post about common general French Bulldog health issues

Marcelle Landestoy

Leave a Reply