Common Eye Problems in Shih Tzu and How to Manage Them

As pet owners, we always want our furry friends to be healthy and happy. However, it can be worrying when we notice any health issues, especially when it comes to our Shih Tzu’s delicate eyes. A Shih Tzu’s eyes are not only endearing but also crucial to their daily lives. As they age, they become prone to various eye problems that can affect their vision and overall well-being. So, if you’re a Shih Tzu owner who’s concerned about your furry companion’s eye health, keep reading to learn about the common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs and how to manage them effectively.

Anatomy of a Shih Tzu’s Eye

Anatomy Of A Shih Tzu'S Eye
The Shih Tzu is a toy breed known for its large, expressive eyes that are set wide apart and give them a friendly and playful appearance. Like any other dog, Shih Tzus have a complex and delicate eye structure that requires proper understanding and care. Understanding the anatomy of your Shih Tzu’s eyes can help you take better care of them.

Shih Tzus have round and slightly protruding eyes that are protected by eyelids. The upper eyelid has a more pronounced curvature than the lower eyelid, and both eyelids are designed to close over the eyeball to keep it moist and clean. The tear ducts help produce tears that keep the eye lubricated and remove any debris or dirt.

The cornea, a transparent dome-shaped outer layer, covers and protects the eye. The iris, the colored part of the eye, helps regulate the amount of light that enters the eye. The pupil, located in the center of the iris, is the black circular opening that allows light to enter the eye.

The lens lies behind the iris and focuses light onto the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. The retina contains photoreceptor cells that are responsible for sensing light and sending visual signals to the brain through the optic nerve.

Shih Tzus are prone to several eye problems, many of which are hereditary. Some of the most common eye problems include cherry eye, cataracts, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, entropion, and ectropion.

To prevent eye problems in your Shih Tzu, it’s important to take them for regular checkups and adopt a healthy lifestyle for them, including good nutrition, exercise, and mental stimulation. It’s also advisable to keep up to date with vaccinations and seek prompt medical attention if you notice any signs of eye problems.

For more information on how to keep your Shih Tzu healthy, you can check out our articles on Shih Tzu allergies, dental care, skin problems, joint mobility, nutrition, mental health, respiratory issues, exercise, and vaccinations.

Common Eye Problems in Shih Tzu Dogs

Common Eye Problems In Shih Tzu Dogs
Shih Tzu dogs have always been known for their irresistible charm, loving nature, and adorable appearance. However, just like any other breed, they are also prone to various health conditions, particularly eye problems. Shih Tzu eye problems can cause discomfort, pain, and even vision loss for your furry friend. It is essential to understand the common eye problems that can affect Shih Tzu’s and how to manage them properly. In this article, we will discuss the most prevalent eye issues that Shih Tzu’s tend to experience and provide essential information about their prevention and treatment. Understanding these eye problems will help you detect them early on and provide your Shih Tzu with the appropriate care they need to maintain their eye health.

1. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a common eye problem in Shih Tzu dogs that is caused when the gland in the third eyelid becomes swollen and protrudes, making it visible as a red or pink lump in the corner of the eye. This is usually noticed in young puppies but can also occur in adult dogs. Although it doesn’t cause pain, it can cause discomfort and irritation to the eye.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • A red or pink swollen mass in the corner of the eye
  • Excessive eye tearing
  • Eye rubbing or pawing
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Uneven pupils
  • Difficulty closing the eye completely

Diagnosis and Treatment:
If you suspect your Shih Tzu has cherry eye, it is best to take them to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Usually, the veterinarian will diagnose the condition by performing a physical exam and may prescribe eye drops, ointment, or other medication to reduce inflammation and swelling. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the gland and prevent future problems.

Prevention and Management:
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent cherry eye from occurring, but certain steps can help manage the condition. These steps include keeping your Shih Tzu’s eyes clean and free of dirt, debris or irritants, and ensuring that their diet is rich in nutrients to keep their immune system strong. Additionally, treating any underlying allergies or infections promptly can help prevent cherry eye from occurring.

To learn more about allergies that can affect your Shih Tzu, click on this link.

2. Cataracts

Cataracts are another common eye problem in Shih Tzu breed. Cataracts occur when the lens in the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, resulting in vision impairment or blindness. Cataracts can be hereditary or caused by aging, diabetes, trauma, or other underlying conditions.

Signs and symptoms: The signs of cataracts in Shih Tzu dogs may go unnoticed in the early stages. However, as the cataracts progress, the dog’s vision may become cloudy, and they may bump into objects, appear disoriented, or lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.

Diagnosis and treatment: Diagnosis of cataracts usually involves a comprehensive eye exam by a veterinarian. Cataracts can be removed through surgery, which involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. However, not all dogs may be suitable for cataract surgery, and it can be expensive.

Prevention and management: While not all cases of cataracts can be prevented, there are some measures that can reduce the risk of development. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can aid in early detection and treatment of underlying conditions that could lead to cataracts. Managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels can also help prevent cataracts. A healthy diet that includes antioxidants such as vitamin C and E can help maintain overall eye health.

It is also essential to create a safe and comfortable environment for your Shih Tzu if they have impaired vision due to cataracts. Keeping objects and furniture in the same place and using scent markers can help them navigate the surroundings more easily.

Nutrition plays a critical role in maintaining overall eye health. Feeding your Shih Tzu a balanced diet with essential nutrients can help prevent and manage eye problems like cataracts.

3. Corneal Ulcer

Corneal ulcer is another common eye problem that affects Shih Tzu dogs. This happens when there is a scratch or an open sore on the surface of the cornea. It can be caused by injury, irritation or infection. Corneal ulcers can cause pain, redness, and discharge in your dog’s eyes.


  • Watery eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Squinting or holding the eye shut
  • Cloudy appearance of the cornea
  • Blinking more than normal
  • Pawing at the eye or rubbing the head on the ground
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Decreased appetite or lethargy may also be observed

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu has a corneal ulcer, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately. Corneal ulcers can be very painful for your dog, and it’s important to get them treated as soon as possible. The vet will examine your dog’s eye and might do a fluorescein stain test to confirm the presence of corneal ulcer.

The treatment for corneal ulcers depends on the severity of the ulcer. The vet might prescribe antibiotics or ointments to alleviate infections, as well as painkillers to help with the pain. For severe cases, surgery might be required to remove the damaged tissue and promote healing.

You can prevent corneal ulcers by keeping your Shih Tzu’s eyes clean and free from irritants. Keep the hair around the eyes trimmed to prevent it from scratching the cornea. In case of scratches, it’s important to address them right away by flushing the eye with saline solution or water. If you notice any signs of infection, like redness, discharge, or swelling, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately.

Corneal ulcers can be very painful for your Shih Tzu dog. As a pet owner, it’s important to be vigilant and watch out for any signs of eye problems. Early detection and treatment can help prevent further damage to your dog’s eyes. Keep your Shih Tzu healthy and happy by following good preventive practices and scheduling regular check-ups with the vet. If you want to learn more about Shih Tzu health, you can read our article about dental prevention, skin problems, and exercise benefits.

4. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a common eye problem in Shih Tzu dogs. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin, transparent layer of tissue that covers the eye’s white part and the inner lining of the eyelids.

The signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs include:

  • Redness of the eye
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Tearing and discharge from the eye
  • Squinting or keeping the eye closed
  • Itchiness and rubbing of the eye

There are several causes of conjunctivitis, including bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, allergies, irritants, and foreign bodies. In some cases, conjunctivitis may also be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Diagnosis and treatment of conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs:
The diagnosis of conjunctivitis is typically made through a physical examination of the dog’s eye by a veterinarian. In some cases, a culture of the discharge from the eye may be necessary to determine the underlying cause of the infection. Treatment of conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs usually involves administering ophthalmic drops or ointments to the affected eye several times a day, on a regular basis.

However, proper hygiene practices can prevent conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs. Regularly wiping the eyes with a damp cloth and avoiding potential irritants or allergens can help prevent infection. If your dog is suffering from recurring episodes of conjunctivitis or other eye issues, it may be a sign of a more significant underlying health condition, and you should seek medical advice immediately.

In conclusion: Although conjunctivitis is a common eye issue among Shih Tzu dogs, it is treatable when detected early. Proper hygiene maintenance and avoiding potential irritants can largely prevent conjunctivitis. However, if your dog suffers from recurring cases of conjunctivitis, it could be an indication of a larger underlying health issue, and consulting with a veterinarian is essential.

5. Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common eye problem in Shih Tzu dogs. It is caused by the decreased production of tears or poor-quality tears, which can result in discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the eyes.

Causes: There are several factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome in Shih Tzu dogs. Some of the most common causes include:

GeneticsDry eye syndrome can be caused by genetic factors, which means that some Shih Tzus may be more prone to developing this condition than others.
Autoimmune diseasesSome autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease or lupus, can lead to dry eye syndrome.
MedicationsCertain medications, such as antihistamines or painkillers, can reduce tear production and cause dry eye syndrome.
Eye infectionsChronic eye infections can damage the tear-producing glands and lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms: The symptoms of dry eye syndrome in Shih Tzu dogs can be quite noticeable. Some common symptoms include:

  • Redness or inflammation around the eyes
  • Excessive tearing or discharge from the eyes
  • Squinting or blinking excessively
  • Eye infections or chronic conjunctivitis
  • Cloudiness or haziness in the cornea

Diagnosis and Treatment: If you suspect that your Shih Tzu is suffering from dry eye syndrome, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian right away. The vet will conduct a thorough eye examination and may perform a Schirmer tear test to measure tear production.

In mild cases, treatment may involve eye drops or ointments to lubricate the eyes and increase tear production. However, more severe cases may require immune-suppressing medications or even surgery to remove damaged or infected tissue.

Prevention and Management: Preventing dry eye syndrome in Shih Tzu dogs can be tricky, as it can be caused by a variety of factors. However, there are a few steps you can take to help manage your dog’s symptoms and prevent complications:

  • Keep your dog’s eyes clean and free from discharge
  • Avoid exposing your dog to irritants or pollutants
  • Use a humidifier in your home to increase moisture levels
  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet that is rich in essential fatty acids

Incorporating these strategies into your routine can help reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome in your Shih Tzu and improve their overall eye health.

If you’d like to learn more about other common health issues facing Shih Tzu dogs, check out our article on vaccination and prevention.

6. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can strike Shih Tzu dogs. It’s caused by an increase in pressure within the eye, damaging the optic nerve and leading to vision loss. There are two types of glaucoma: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition and can’t be prevented, while secondary glaucoma is caused by other eye problems, like cataracts, uveitis or a tumor.

Signs and symptoms
– Redness in the eye
– Cloudy cornea
– Squinting or rubbing the eye
– Increase in tear production
– Vision loss
– Dilated pupil
– Bulging eye

Glaucoma in Shih Tzu dogs needs urgent veterinary care as it is irreversible and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Your vet may prescribe medications to reduce the pressure in the eye, like eye drops or oral medication. In advanced cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce the pressure in the eye..

Prevention and management
Although primary glaucoma can’t be prevented, it’s important to schedule annual eye exams for your Shih Tzu to catch secondary glaucoma as early as possible. If your dog is diagnosed with primary glaucoma, it’s important to take steps to avoid eye injuries and monitor eye pressure regularly.

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Paying close attention to your Shih Tzu’s eye health, scheduling annual eye exams with your vet, and taking measures to prevent eye injuries can help manage this condition. If you want to learn more about common health issues in Shih Tzu dogs, check out our article on /shih-tzu-joint-mobility-issues/ or /shih-tzu-respiratory-issues/. Additionally, providing mental health enrichment for your Shih Tzu can be beneficial for overall well-being as well, learn more at /mental-health-enrichment-shih-tzu/.

7. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic eye disorder that affects Shih Tzu dogs. It is a degenerative condition that gradually causes the retina to deteriorate and eventually leads to irreversible blindness. Here are some essential points to know about PRA:

  • Symptoms: The first sign of PRA is often night blindness. Dogs with PRA will struggle to see in low light conditions and may bump into things. As the disease progresses, they will eventually lose their daytime vision as well.
  • Cause: PRA is caused by a mutation in the genes that control retinal cell death. This mutation is usually inherited from one or both parents who carry the defective genes.
  • Diagnosis: A veterinary ophthalmologist can diagnose PRA by performing a comprehensive eye exam. This may include an electroretinogram (ERG) to measure retinal function and genetic testing to confirm the presence of the defective genes.
  • Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA, and once a dog loses their vision, it cannot be restored. However, there are ways to slow down the progression of the disease and make life easier for a blind dog. This may include providing a safe living environment, keeping the furniture in the same place, using scent markers, and providing training to help the dog navigate their surroundings.
  • Management: PRA is a genetic condition, so the best way to manage it is through responsible breeding practices. It is essential to avoid breeding dogs that are carriers of the PRA gene to prevent passing the disease onto their offspring.

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu may have PRA, it is crucial to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Early diagnosis will allow for better management of the disease and a higher quality of life for the affected dog.

8. Entropion and Ectropion

Entropion and Ectropion are two common eye problems that affect Shih Tzu dogs. These conditions cause the eyelids to either turn inward or outward, which can lead to a range of issues.

Entropion: This condition causes the eyelid to fold inward towards the eye, leading to irritation and discomfort. It can also cause other issues, such as corneal ulcers or scarring.

Ectropion: Ectropion is the opposite of Entropion, where the eyelid droops and turns outward. This condition can also cause irritation and discomfort, as well as dryness and exposure of the inner eyelid.

Both Entropion and Ectropion can be hereditary in Shih Tzu dogs or can develop as a result of other underlying health conditions.

Signs and SymptomsDiagnosis and Treatment
Excessive tearingIf the condition is mild, lubricating eye drops may be enough. Severe cases may require surgery to correct the position of the eyelid.
Inflammation or redness around the eyeA veterinarian can diagnose Entropion or Ectropion through a comprehensive eye exam. Additional tests may be required to determine the underlying cause of the condition.
Discomfort or pain when blinking or opening/closing the eyeSurgery is often the most effective treatment option for correcting Entropion or Ectropion. The procedure involves adjusting the position of the eyelid and may be done in conjunction with other treatments, such as medication or eye drops.

Prevention of Entropion and Ectropion in Shih Tzu dogs involves breeding from healthy bloodlines and ensuring regular eye exams to catch the condition early. Management of the condition may involve consistent use of lubricating eye drops or ointment, as well as avoiding environmental irritants.

While Entropion and Ectropion can cause discomfort and potential long-term complications in Shih Tzu dogs, prompt diagnosis and treatment can help manage the condition effectively. Consultation with a veterinarian is important for any eye-related issues to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs And Symptoms
Keeping an eye on your Shih Tzu’s eye health is crucial as early detection of any eye problems can improve the chances of a successful treatment. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of the most common eye issues that afflict this breed.

Cherry Eye: This condition occurs when the tear gland in their third eyelid prolapses, becoming visible as a red mass in the corner of the eye. Your dog might rub their eye, blink excessively, or have eye discharge.

Cataracts: Like humans, dogs can also develop cataracts which can lead to cloudy and opaque vision. Symptoms include bumping into furniture, reluctance to climb stairs, and general disorientation.

Corneal Ulcer: This condition occurs when there is an injury to the superficial layer of the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. Symptoms can include squinting, redness, ocular discharge, and sensitivity to light.

Conjunctivitis: Often referred to as pink eye, conjunctivitis is a highly contagious condition that can affect one or both eyes. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching, accompanied by excessive tearing or discharge.

Dry Eye Syndrome: This condition affects the production of tears. Symptoms include redness, excessive blinking, inflammation, and mucus discharge or crust forming around the eyelids.

Glaucoma: This condition occurs when the pressure inside the eye increases, leading to nerve damage and vision loss. Symptoms include red or cloudy eyes, squinting, and behavioral changes such as aggression, depression, or lethargy.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This is an age-related degenerative condition that affects the dog’s retina, leading to vision loss or even blindness. Symptoms include night blindness, loss of peripheral vision, and dilated pupils.

Entropion and Ectropion: Entropion occurs when the eyelid rolls or folds inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea. Ectropion occurs when the lower eyelid droops, leaving the sensitive inner eyelid exposed. Both can cause redness, discharge, and excessive tearing.

It is important to note that some of these symptoms could indicate other underlying health issues, while others may have no symptoms at all until the condition has progressed. If you notice any abnormalities or changes in your Shih Tzu’s eyes, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis And Treatment
When it comes to dealing with eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs, proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial for maintaining their overall health and well-being. However, identifying the specific issue and finding the right course of action can be perplexing for pet owners. Experienced professionals and comprehensive examinations are required to pinpoint the underlying cause of the problem and develop an effective treatment plan. In this section, we will explore the steps involved in diagnosing and treating various eye conditions in Shih Tzus. Let’s dive in and learn more about how to keep these adorable pups’ eyes healthy and bright.

1. Cherry Eye Treatment

One of the most common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs is cherry eye, also known as prolapsed gland of the third eyelid. This condition occurs when a tear gland in the dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed and protrudes, causing a red or pink mass to appear in the corner of the eye. Cherry eye is usually not painful, but it can cause irritation and discomfort if left untreated.

The treatment for cherry eye typically involves surgery to reposition the tear gland back into its normal position. There are a few different surgical techniques that can be used, depending on the severity of the condition and the preferences of the veterinarian.

Here are some common treatments for cherry eye:

  • Surgical repositioning: This is the most common treatment for cherry eye. The veterinarian will make a small incision in the corner of the eye and reposition the tear gland back into place. Sometimes, they will tack the gland in place to prevent future prolapse. This procedure is typically done under general anesthesia, and the dog will need to wear a cone for a few days while the incision heals.
  • Removal: In severe cases, the veterinarian may recommend removing the affected tear gland altogether. This is usually only done if the dog is experiencing chronic irritation and discomfort, or if other treatments have failed. Removal of the tear gland does not typically cause any serious health problems in dogs, as they have other tear glands that can compensate.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected tear gland. This can help to relieve discomfort and prevent further prolapse. However, medication is typically not effective in managing cherry eye on its own, and surgery is usually required for a long-term solution.

It’s important to have your Shih Tzu evaluated by a veterinarian if you suspect that they may have cherry eye. While this condition is not typically serious, it can lead to complications if left untreated. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most dogs with cherry eye can recover fully and go on to live happy, healthy lives.

2. Cataracts Treatment

Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs. They occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and opaque, reducing vision and sometimes leading to total blindness. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for cataracts.

Surgery: The most effective treatment for cataracts in dogs is surgery. During the procedure, the opaque lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one. This significantly improves the dog’s vision and quality of life. However, it is important to note that not all dogs are good candidates for surgery. Factors such as age, general health, and the severity of the cataracts play a role in determining whether surgery is an appropriate treatment option.

Pharmaceuticals: While medications cannot eliminate cataracts, they can be used to manage associated symptoms such as inflammation and discomfort. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce inflammation, while pain-relief medications can help alleviate discomfort. However, it is important to note that these medications will not cure or reverse cataracts.

Dietary Supplements: Some dietary supplements have been shown to slow down the progression of cataracts in dogs. These supplements often contain antioxidants and other vitamins that help to protect the eyes from damage. However, while these supplements can be helpful in managing cataracts, they should not be used as a substitute for surgery if it is needed.

Lifestyle Changes: Managing a dog’s lifestyle can also go a long way in preventing or slowing the progression of cataracts. Regular exercise can help to maintain overall health, which in turn can help to prevent age-related cataracts. Additionally, providing a healthy diet and avoiding exposure to toxins (such as cigarette smoke) can also help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for a dog with cataracts. With proper management and treatment, many dogs with cataracts can maintain good vision and a high quality of life.

3. Corneal Ulcer Treatment

Corneal ulcers are a common eye problem in Shih Tzu dogs, which can be caused by various factors. Treatment for corneal ulcers involves a few key steps, as outlined below:

1. Veterinary Consultation: It is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian if you suspect that your Shih Tzu may have a corneal ulcer. The vet will conduct a comprehensive eye exam and recommend appropriate treatment based on the severity of the ulcer.

2. Medication: In most cases, medication will be prescribed to treat the corneal ulcer. This may include topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce pain and prevent infection. Additionally, the vet may recommend a medication to promote healing of the cornea.

3. Eye Drops: In addition to medication, eye drops may be prescribed to help soothe the eye and reduce irritation. These eye drops may contain lubricants or local anesthesia, which can help relieve pain and discomfort.

4. Protective Collar: Your vet may recommend using an Elizabethan collar, which is a cone-shaped device that fits around your Shih Tzu’s neck to prevent them from scratching or rubbing their eye. This will help to prevent further damage and allow the cornea to heal.

5. Follow-up Appointments: It is important to follow-up with your vet regularly to monitor the progress of the treatment and ensure that the corneal ulcer is healing properly. The vet may recommend additional treatments or changes to the medication based on the healing progress.

6. Preventive Measures: Preventive measures can be taken to avoid further corneal ulcers from occurring. Some of the ways include, keeping your dog’s environment clean to prevent infection, avoiding trauma to the eye, and providing your dog with a healthy diet to boost their immune system.

Treating a corneal ulcer in a Shih Tzu dog requires a combination of medication, eye drops, and protective measures. By following the comprehensive treatment regimen and preventive measures recommended by your vet, you can help your furry friend recover from this common eye problem.

4. Conjunctivitis Treatment

When it comes to treating Conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs, the first and foremost step is to consult a veterinarian. This is because Conjunctivitis can be caused by various reasons, such as allergies, infections or underlying medical conditions.

Here is a table outlining the treatments for various types of Conjunctivitis in Shih Tzus:

Type of ConjunctivitisTreatment
Allergic ConjunctivitisAntihistamines: These can be given orally or as eye drops to combat the allergic reaction causing the Conjunctivitis. Corticosteroids: These may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation.
Infectious ConjunctivitisAntibiotics: These can be administered orally or in the form of eye drops to treat the underlying bacterial or viral infection causing the Conjunctivitis.
Chemical ConjunctivitisSaline Solution: Flushing the eye with saline solution can help remove any chemical irritants in the eye. Antibiotics: If the eye is infected due to chemical exposure, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Feline Herpesvirus ConjunctivitisAntiviral Medication: These can help reduce the severity of the symptoms caused by the Feline herpesvirus. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

It is important to note that self-treating Conjunctivitis in Shih Tzu dogs is not recommended as the wrong medication can cause more harm than good. Some medications may also be harmful to the dogs if they are ingested or if they come into contact with their skin. Additionally, Conjunctivitis can sometimes be an indication of an underlying condition, so consultation with a veterinarian is always the best course of action.

5. Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment

Dry Eye Syndrome, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, is a condition where a Shih Tzu’s eyes cannot produce enough tears to keep them properly lubricated. This can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the cornea. Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome in Shih Tzus typically involves addressing the underlying cause while also providing supplemental tear production.

Here are some common treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome in Shih Tzus:

  • Artificial Tears: The most common treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome is to provide artificial tears to help lubricate the eyes. These can be purchased over-the-counter at a pet supply store or prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Cyclosporine: This medication is used to help increase tear production in dogs with Dry Eye Syndrome. It is typically given in the form of eye drops or ointment and may require a prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Tacrolimus: Another medication that can help increase tear production in dogs with Dry Eye Syndrome is Tacrolimus. This medication is typically given in the form of eye drops and may require a prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Some studies have shown that supplementing a dog’s diet with omega-3 fatty acids can help improve tear production and reduce inflammation in the eyes. These can be added to a dog’s diet or given in the form of a supplement.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of Dry Eye Syndrome, surgery may be necessary to address the underlying cause. This can include procedures to remove the gland that produces tears or to transplant a gland from another area of the body to the eye.

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu may be suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for an examination. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage to the eyes and improve your dog’s quality of life.

6. Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can lead to permanent vision loss in Shih Tzu dogs. Treatment for glaucoma focuses on reducing the intraocular pressure in order to preserve vision. There are several treatment options available for managing glaucoma in Shih Tzu dogs, including medications, laser therapy, and surgery.

Medications: Medications are the primary treatment option for managing glaucoma in dogs. These medications work by decreasing the production of aqueous humor or by increasing its outflow. Some commonly used medications for glaucoma in dogs include dorzolamide, latanoprost, and timolol. These medications can be given as eye drops, and their dosage and frequency of administration may vary depending on the severity of the condition.

Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for managing glaucoma in dogs. In laser therapy, a laser beam is used to open a new drainage pathway in the eye, allowing the fluid to flow out more easily and reducing the intraocular pressure. Laser therapy is often used in conjunction with medications for best results.

Surgery: Surgery may be recommended if medications and laser therapy are ineffective in controlling the intraocular pressure. There are several surgical options available for managing glaucoma in dogs, including traditional surgery or minimally invasive surgery such as endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP). Depending on the severity of the condition and the individual dog, the veterinarian may recommend a particular type of surgery.

It is important to note that while treatment for glaucoma in Shih Tzu dogs can help manage the condition and prevent vision loss, it cannot reverse any damage that has already occurred. Regular visits with an ophthalmologist and diligent monitoring of intraocular pressure are also important in managing glaucoma.

7. Progressive Retinal Atrophy Treatment

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease that affects the retina of Shih Tzu dogs, ultimately leading to blindness. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for PRA. However, there are treatment options available to help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.

1. Antioxidant Therapy: Supplementing your Shih Tzu’s diet with antioxidants like vitamin C and E may help to slow down the progression of retinal degeneration.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the retina, which may help to slow down PRA.

3. S-antigen Supplements: Research has shown that S-antigen supplements, which are derived from bovine retina, can help to slow down the progression of PRA.

4. Regular Monitoring: Regular visits to the vet are essential for monitoring the progression of PRA. Your vet may recommend eye exams, electroretinography (ERG) tests, and other diagnostic tests to monitor your Shih Tzu’s eye health.

5. Bright Lighting: Providing your Shih Tzu with bright lighting can help to stimulate the remaining photoreceptor cells in the retina and slow down the degeneration process.

6. Laser Therapy: Some vets may recommend laser therapy for PRA. This involves using a specialized laser to stimulate the cells in the retina, which may help to slow down the degeneration process and preserve some of your Shih Tzu’s vision.

It’s important to note that while these treatments may help to slow down the progression of PRA, they are not a cure. Ultimately, if your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with PRA, they will eventually go blind. However, with proper treatment and management, you can help to slow down the progression of the disease and ensure that your furry friend lives a happy and comfortable life.

8. Entropion and Ectropion Treatment

Entropion and Ectropion are two different conditions that affect the eyelids of Shih Tzu dogs. Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to irritate the cornea, while Ectropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls outward, leaving the eye exposed and prone to irritation and infections.

Treatment: The treatment for both Entropion and Ectropion depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, simple remedies such as applying ointments or drops to the eyes may be enough to alleviate the symptoms. However, if the condition is severe, surgery may be required to correct the eyelid position.


Condition SeverityTreatment
MildApplication of ointments or drops
ModerateElective surgery to correct the eyelid position
SevereEmergency surgery to prevent further corneal damage and infections

It is important to note that surgery for Entropion and Ectropion is generally safe and effective, with most dogs experiencing significant improvement in their symptoms after surgery.

It is also important to manage Entropion and Ectropion, even after surgery, to prevent the condition from recurring. Daily eye cleaning and regular checkups with a veterinarian are recommended as part of a post-surgery care plan.

Entropion and Ectropion are common eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs. While mild cases may be managed with drops and ointments, more severe cases may require surgical intervention. With proper treatment and aftercare, most dogs with Entropion and Ectropion can go on to live healthy and happy lives.

Prevention and Management

It’s important for Shih Tzu owners to take measures to prevent eye problems from occurring, and to manage any issues that do arise. Here are some steps you can take to keep your Shih Tzu’s eyes healthy:

Regular Veterinary Check-Ups – Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to catch any potential eye problems early on. Your vet can also advise you on preventative measures and recommend treatments for any existing conditions.

Cleanliness – Keep your Shih Tzu’s face and eyes clean to prevent irritation and infection. Use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with warm water to wipe away any discharge or debris from around the eyes. Avoid using harsh soaps or chemicals that can cause irritation.

Proper Grooming – Regularly grooming your Shih Tzu can prevent hair around the eyes from irritating the eyes or becoming ingrown. Trimming the hair around the eyes can also help prevent debris from getting stuck in the fur.

Proper Nutrition – Proper nutrition is essential for overall health, including eye health. Make sure your Shih Tzu is getting a balanced diet with essential vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids can also benefit eye health.

Avoid Trauma and Injury – Protect your Shih Tzu’s eyes from trauma and injury by keeping them away from potential hazards. This includes avoiding situations where the eyes can be poked or scratched.

Proper Medication Use – If your Shih Tzu requires medication for an eye condition, make sure to administer it as directed by your veterinarian. Overuse or improper use of medication can cause further damage or irritation to the eyes.

By taking these preventative measures, Shih Tzu owners can help keep their furry companions’ eyes healthy. Additionally, staying alert for any signs of possible eye problems and promptly seeking veterinary care can help manage and treat existing conditions.


In conclusion, it’s crucial to pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s eye health as they are prone to various eye problems. From cherry eye to progressive retinal atrophy, there are several issues that can affect your furry friend’s vision and overall well-being.

If you notice any signs of eye problems like redness, discharge, or excessive tearing, it’s essential to take your Shih Tzu to a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Early intervention is crucial in managing these issues, and delaying treatment can result in irreversible damage to your dog’s eyesight.

While some eye problems are genetic or age-related, others can be prevented by taking the necessary steps in managing your dog’s eye health. Regular grooming, including trimming hair around the eyes, can prevent irritation and inflammation. Additionally, feeding your Shih Tzu a healthy diet with essential vitamins and antioxidants can promote good eye health.

Remember that your furry friend’s eyes are delicate and require proper care and attention. Keep an eye on their behavior and look out for any signs of discomfort or changes in their vision. With the right diagnosis, treatment, and prevention plan, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu maintains good eye health and can enjoy a happy and healthy life with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cherry eye and how does it affect Shih Tzu dogs?

Cherry eye is a condition that occurs when the gland in your Shih Tzu dog’s third eyelid becomes weak and prolapses. This can lead to redness, swelling, and inflammation of the eye, which can be very uncomfortable for your dog.

What causes cataracts in Shih Tzu dogs?

Cataracts in Shih Tzu dogs can be caused by many factors, but most commonly, it is due to age-related changes. Other causes can include genetic predisposition, diabetes, infections, and nutritional deficiencies.

How can I tell if my Shih Tzu dog has dry eye syndrome?

Signs that your Shih Tzu dog may have dry eye syndrome include redness, irritation, discharge, excessive blinking, and noticeable changes in the appearance of the eye. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

What is the best way to prevent eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs?

The best way to prevent eye problems in Shih Tzu dogs is to make sure that they receive regular check-ups from a veterinarian, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid exposing them to harsh chemicals and toxins that could damage their eyes.

What is the treatment for entropion and ectropion in Shih Tzu dogs?

Treatment for entropion and ectropion in Shih Tzu dogs will depend on the severity of the condition. In most cases, surgery will be required to correct the issue and prevent further damage to the eye. Your veterinarian will be able to provide more information on the best course of treatment for your pet.

Can my Shih Tzu dog develop glaucoma?

Yes, Shih Tzu dogs can develop glaucoma, which is a condition where the pressure within the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve. Symptoms of glaucoma in Shih Tzu dogs may include pain, redness, cloudiness, and loss of vision.

What is the difference between corneal ulcer and conjunctivitis?

A corneal ulcer is a scratch or abrasion on the surface of your Shih Tzu dog’s eye, which can be caused by trauma or infection. Conjunctivitis, on the other hand, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the membrane that covers the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eye.

How can I manage my Shih Tzu dog’s eye problems at home?

Managing your Shih Tzu dog’s eye problems at home can include things like administering eye drops or ointments as prescribed by your veterinarian, keeping their eyes clean and free of discharge, and avoiding exposure to irritants or allergens that could exacerbate the condition.

What is the prognosis for Shih Tzu dogs with progressive retinal atrophy?

The prognosis for Shih Tzu dogs with progressive retinal atrophy can vary, but unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition. However, early detection and treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and maintain your dog’s quality of life for as long as possible.

What should I do if I suspect my Shih Tzu dog has an eye problem?

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu dog has an eye problem, the best thing to do is to seek veterinary care immediately. Early detection and treatment can help to prevent further damage to the eye and improve your pet’s overall prognosis.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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