French Bulldog Eye Problems: Common Issues For Bullys


Ahhh, Bulldogs. Lovable, affectionate, and oh-so-playful, they are one of the world’s most popular breeds and an excellent addition to any household. 

However, most Bully parents know all too well that their furry friends often have a host of eye problems. From allergies to infections, it can seem like there’s always something going on with those big, beautiful eyes.

If you’re the lucky owner of a Bulldog, we’ve put together a list of common eye problems that our beloved breed is prone to. Read on to learn more about the Bulldog and the eye problems that they are genetically predisposed to. 

How Good Is French Bulldogs Eyesight?

French bulldogs have average eyesight when compared to other dog breeds – not as good as Labradors, but certainly not as poor as some other breeds.

Generally, no dog has good eyesight when compared to human vision, with the exception of possibly seeing in the dark, but more on that in a bit. 

In short, French Bulldogs have poor eyesight when compared to humans, with research indicating that they have 20/75 vision as opposed to our standard 20/20 vision.

This means that French Bulldogs need to be 20 feet away from something to see it as well as we can from 75 feet away. You may then conclude that French bulldogs have poor eyesight which is only 26% as sharp as ours.

But wait! That isn’t the whole picture.

Better vision in the dark

The night vision of canines is thought to be five times better than ours.

Scientists are quite certain that dogs see better in low light than humans but less well than cats. According to current estimates, your French bulldog’s night vision is approximately five times greater than your own. 

The tapetum, or tapetum lucidum, is a distinctive feature in the eye of dogs and many other species. The tapetum functions as a little mirror in the rear of the eye, whose main purpose is to reflect light back at the retina, improving low-light vision.

Because humans lack a tapetum, your dog’s eyes glow in the dim light while your own do not.

Bad eyesight in terms of colors

Another criteria you could use to classify French Bulldogs’ eyesight as poor is how they perceive color, but this does not distinguish them from any other dog breed because all dogs have some degree of color blindness.

Dogs do not see colors in the same way that we do. They, for example, cannot see red like humans do, instead, they perceive shades of blue and yellow. 

French Bulldog’s field of vision

Let us talk about distance now. As previously stated, humans have 20/20 eyesight whereas dogs have 20/75 vision. Given what we know, it’s reasonable to assume that French Bulldogs can see anything 20 feet away quite well before it becomes hazy beyond that point.

However, this does not imply that they can only see 20 feet away. It is known for a fact that you can wave to your French Bulldog from 50 meters (164 feet) away while on a walk in the woods and he will see you and start running.

French Bulldogs can see as far as 164 feet. It is unlikely that he can identify you from this distance, but he’s probably reacting to your body language because he knows he’s on a walk with you and knows the direction you last went. 

Eye allergies

French Bulldogs, like many other breeds, are sensitive to allergens found in food or the environment around them, so learning to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction will help your French Bulldog live a long, allergy-free life.

If your French bulldog suffers from eye allergies, you might try incorporating an itch-relieving regimen into his daily routine.

French Bulldogs with seasonal allergies should have their eyes rinsed regularly with a sterile eyewash solution and eye drops that are suitable for long-term use.

Symptoms

Your French Bulldog might have an eye allergy or some other kind of eye problem if he or she is: 

  • scratching his or her eye with its paw or on the carpet
  • blinking excessively
  • has odd drainage coming from one or both eyes
  • spots or redness in and around the eye
  • cloudiness, changes in eye color
  • tear-stained fur
  • red or white eyelid lining
  • has a visible third eyelid

If you detect any of the symptoms indicated above, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. Some problems are easily treated by a veterinary professional but can worsen and cause severe damage if left untreated.

You May Also Be Interested in French Bulldog Health Issues

Entropion In Bulldogs

Entropion is inward curling of the eyelid edges that are common in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Puppies. The amount of skin and wrinkles covering your Bulldog’s head and face region, as well as the weight of the folds, determine the severity of the entropion.  

Excessive skin folds around the eye area in Bulldogs can create skin fold dermatitis, a skin ailment that can make your Bully itchy and want to scratch his face near the eye. 

This rubbing can cause damage to the cornea, which can result in injury. 

Symptoms

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Inflammation of the inner eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Squinting
  • Excessive tears in the affected eye
  • Pawing at the affected eye
  • Mucus or eye discharge
  • Keeping affected eye closed
  • Abrasion of the cornea
  • Corneal ulceration 
  • Cries out and yelps in anguish.
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

Causes

  • Entropion is generally inherited
  • Eye injury 
  • Inflamed eye infection
  • Senior dogs with aging skin laxity

Cherry Eye in Bulldogs

Cherry eye is simply the non-medical terminology for nictitating membrane prolapse – or the third eyelid. The eyelid, or gland, essentially gets out of place and misaligned, resulting in a highly red or pink swollen lump.

Unfortunately for French Bully parents, this is a rather prevalent issue in Bulldogs. Keep in mind that cherry eye is more commonly found in puppies aged 4 months to 2 years. 

The fibrous connection that holds the third eyelid gland to the lower inner rim of the eyelid could be weak due to genetics, increasing the likelihood of cherry eye.

Symptoms

The following are some of the most prevalent symptoms:

  • A pink or crimson “blob” enlarged in the corner of the eye 
  • Pawing or scratching the eye
  • Eye irritation due to the lack of tear production
  • Blinking excessively
  • Discharge around the affected eye

Causes

Cherry eye in dogs can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Ligaments in the third eyelid that have been stretched or torn
  • Breed predisposition
  • The age of the dog – puppies one year and younger have a higher risk
  • Physical injury to the eye
  • Excessive eye scratching or pawing

Keratoconjuctivitis ( KCS)

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is an eye disorder that is also known as dry eye. The medical phrase refers to corneal and adjacent tissue irritation caused by dryness.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca causes painful, red, and irritated eyes in the majority of French Bulldogs.

Symptoms

  • Excessive squinting or closing their eyes
  • Thick, yellowish discharge from the eyes
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Ulcers
  • Conjuctivitis

Causes

Dry eyes can be caused by any disorder that inhibits the ability to generate enough amounts of tear film. Some of the most common causes of KCS are:

  • Immune-mediated disorders that affect the tear glands, where the immune system of the body targets the cells that produce a portion of the tear film, causing its production to diminish. This condition is assumed to be hereditary.  
  • Systemic illnesses such as Canine distemper.
  • Certain sulphonamide medications 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • The effects of an inner ear infection on the nervous system (neurogenic KCS).

Distichiasis & Distichiae

Distichiasis, or the formation of extra eyelashes, is a disorder in dogs in which hairs grow in an odd location on the eyelid. Hairs usually grow from the meibomian glands on the lid of the eyelid.

This might cause problems with the eye depending on the number of hairs, the hardness of the hairs, and the direction of the hairs.

Symptoms

In many dogs, the presence of additional hairs or eyelashes is not an issue. The hairs are not irritating, and many pet owners are unaware that their dog has extra hairs on his or her eyelid. However, there are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Rubbing the eye
  • Increase in blinking
  • Squinting of the eye
  • Excessively watery eye
  • Eye irritability and redness
  • Ocular ulcerations

Causes

Distichiasis is a rather common illness, although it is unknown why additional hairs grow from meibomian gland channels. It can happen to any dog, and the severity varies.

The presence of symptoms in your dog will be determined by the structure of the eyelids, the amount of abnormally growing hairs, the length of the hairs, and the coarseness of the hairs. 

Ectopic Cilia

Ectopic cilia are most common in dogs under the age of two. Although it is not normally a threatening situation, corneal inflammation and ulceration can lead to significant infection and even loss of sight in that eye. 

This disorder causes one or more eyelashes to protrude through the inside of the eye, typically in the upper lid, causing significant discomfort.

You may not be able to spot ectopic cilia in your Bully, so if you see excessive blinking and scratching of the eye, take your pet to a veterinary practitioner.

Symptoms

  • Excessive tears in the eye
  • Involuntary blinking or closing of the afflicted eye
  • Redness and inflammation in the affected eye
  • Rubbing or pawing at the face and eyes
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Bumping into things(due to keeping one eye closed)
  • No interest in playing or going outside.
  • Eye swelling and discoloration (with corneal ulceration)
  • Tear wounds on the fur around the affected eye

Causes

Ectopic cilia is considered to be a hereditary condition caused by genetic variables found in predisposed breeds.

Corneal ulcers

Eye ulcer Frenchie
Melting Eye Ulcer

Corneal ulcers, often known as ‘scratches’ or ‘abrasions,’ are a fairly frequent eye condition in pets. Ulcers are basically open wounds on the cornea, that can be extremely unpleasant or painful. 

While most ulcers heal within a week, certain ulcers may require special treatment to heal. When an ulcer becomes infected, it can quickly progress to a severe wound or perforation.

Symptoms

Corneal ulcer symptoms are uncomfortable, and your dog may be:

  • Squinting
  • Pawing
  • Rubbing at the eye
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Tears

Superficial ulcers aren’t clearly visible to the naked eye, so your veterinarian will use a specific stain called fluorescein to check for the presence of an ulcer. When the stain is applied to the eye, the dye adheres to the ulcer and emits green fluorescence, indicating the presence of the ulcer.

Causes

Corneal ulcers in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which is eye trauma.

  • Playing rough with other dogs
  • Running through dense greenery or through the woods
  • Shampoo or dust and debris
  • Bacteria or infection 
  • A scratch from a cat or a sharp object

Corneal ulcers are also common in dogs with certain breeds or conditions, such as:

  • Dry eye, caused by a decrease in tear production, which causes the corneal surface to dry out.
  • Breeds with prominent eyes that are brachycephalic (flat-faced) (such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Boxers, and Bulldogs)

Tips on keeping eyes clean

  • The first step is to inspect the precise area that has to be cleaned. If this area is covered in hair, you should cut them off immediately. Hair can easily carry and spread traces of potentially infectious substances.
  • Try gently opening their eyes and clean them thoroughly with a vet-approved eye cleaner. 
  • When cleaning, avoid using your bare hands. Dip a cotton pad or a cotton ball in saline. If you’re going to use a towel, make sure to use a different portion for each eye.
  • Another approach is to use apple cider vinegar to reduce itching from an allergy. You can either clean their eyes well with a little apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water. Alternatively, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into their drinking water to make the tears somewhat acidic, preventing bacteria and fungi from developing.

Final Thoughts On French Bulldog Eye Problems 

Bulldogs are adorable, but they can also be prone to a number of eye problems. Some of these conditions can cause blindness if not treated, so it’s important for us to know what to look out for and how to treat any issues that may arise. 

We hope this article has been helpful in educating you about the various eye problems your Bulldog may experience and giving you the information you need to keep your furry friend’s eyes healthy and bright! 

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