If your dog’s eye is closed or weepy it should not be ignored – sight is precious and some eye conditions become harder to cure if not treated quickly.
A weepy eye may be caused by an injury, infection, abnormal tears, increased pressure, or having something stuck in the eye
If your dog’s eye is closed or half closed, that is because your dog’s eye is painful
See your vet today – careful examination is necessary to determine the cause
Delaying seeing a vet can mean the condition is more difficult to treat, or becomes untreatable, and this can result in blindness or removal of the eye.
Causes of closed or weepy eyes
Damage or injury to the eye
Dogs can injure their eyes by bashing the eye (blunt trauma) or scratching the eye causing damage to its surface (corneal ulcer).
Blunt trauma can sometime be very serious. Your vet will examine the eye for signs of scratches, damage to the deeper tissues, bleeding, and inflammation in the eyeball itself – all of which will require treatment.
Corneal ulcers happen when the outer surface of the eye (the ‘cornea’) becomes scratched. The eyes might be closed, red, weepy, and cloudy. Corneal ulcers are painful, they can enlarge very quickly, and infection makes them worse. If a corneal ulcer is not treated, the eye may rupture.
Something in the eye
Dogs can get things in stuck in their eyes (foreign bodies). If the foreign body is tucked under one of your dog’s three eyelids (yes, dogs have three!), then hopefully it can be removed easily. This may require local anaesthetic or sedation. Sometimes a foreign body like a thorn can scratch the eye, causing a corneal ulcer.
Dogs can get infection in their eye or eyes which causes inflammation of the eyelids (conjunctivitis). Weeping is usually sticky. Treatment is often straightforward, but if left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to more serious conditions.
The eyes and eyelids need tears for moisture and nourishment. Some dogs don’t produce enough tears (called ‘dry eye’). In later stages dry eyes become sore, red, and cloudy with a sticky discharge. Dry eye is simple for your vet to diagnose. If left untreated it can lead to other eye conditions, including painful corneal ulcers and loss of sight.
Glaucoma is increased pressure in the eye. The eye can look bluish, cloudy, and may be closed or weepy. Glaucoma is often due to an inherited defect but can be secondary to other eye conditions. It is extremely painful.
My Dog has closed and weepy eyes, why should I see a vet?
Some causes of weepy eyes are mild and resolve on their own, but some can be very serious. Not treating them can result in blindness, or a need to remove the eye surgically (enucleation).
The cause of a closed or weepy eye can be difficult to determine without a proper examination so dogs with bad eyes should always see a vet.
Your vet will examine your dog’s eyes carefully, using magnifiers and dyes. This is usually enough to start appropriate treatment. Your vet might suggest further tests, or referral to a specific ‘eye vet’ (ophthalmologist) if there is anything unusual or difficult.