Boston Terrier Eye Problems: Common Eye Issues and Suitable Treatments

Pet Health


April 22, 2022

Boston terriers are one of the cutest dog breeds out there, but many of them struggle with eye problems. In the majority of cases, eye problems are genetic, but they are also secondary to other illnesses.

For this reason, it’s suggested to get their eyes checked by the veterinary ophthalmologist regularly. However, as a dog owner, you must be aware of the common Boston terrier eye problems as well as the prevention tips.

Corneal Ulcers

This is the most common eye problem in these dogs, and one in ten dogs struggles from the corneal ulcer. It is an extremely painful eye problem and is usually caused by trauma to the dog’s cornea.

It usually looks like an injury and scratch to the eyes, eye infection, eye irritation, and lack of water in the dog’s eyes. It can also be caused by excessive rubbing of the eyes.


In the majority of cases, the dogs squint their eyes and cry with pain. In addition, there will be evident inflammation and redness in the eyes. This eye problem can be expensive and challenging to treat, and if not handled well, your dog might end up losing the eye.


This is a condition with which the dog’s natural lens is clouded, resulting in reduced clarity in the vision, and if not treated on time, it results in blindness. However, there are instances when the shape and size remain the same for years. There are two types of cataracts caused in Boston terriers, including juvenile cataracts and late-onset cataracts.

Juvenile cataracts are a hereditary condition that appears by the age of 15 months and are caused by the HSF4 gene. This form of cataracts impact both eyes and has a faster progression time. On the other hand, late-onset cataracts appear as dogs start aging and will appear when dogs are aged from three to six years of age.

However, cataracts can also develop because of eye trauma, diabetes, and nutritional disorders.


The common signs of cataracts include white, grey, and bluish color changes in the eye or when they bump into things.

In addition, the dog will be reluctant towards climbing the stairs, show hesitance to new environments, redness and inflammation of eyes, and squinting. As far as the treatment is concerned, genetically caused cataracts cannot be treated.


Glaucoma is also a genetic eye issue and starts showing up when the dog is about two years old. However, it’s not very common because only 1% of the Boston terriers struggle with glaucoma. It tends to cause fluid buildup and increases pressure in the eye. This pressure can adversely impact the vision, and the dog will struggle with pain.

In addition, it can result in watery eyes, squinting, cornea bluing, and pain. If the disease advances, it will result in swollen and enlarged eyes.


It is a medical emergency, and as soon as you witness these symptoms, you need to take your dog to the emergency clinic or a vet. Also, it’s suggested to take your dog for regular eye screenings and annual eye checkups to diagnose glaucoma in its early form.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is medically called keratitis sicca, and it occurs when an ulcer damages the eye’s cornea. For the most part, it’s caused by insufficient tear production as tears are essential for eye health because it lubricates the eyes. As a result, the eye surface will become sore and irritated. Dry eye can lead to chronic, painful eye issues.

In addition, dry eye is caused by inflammation of tear glands and will be a lifelong condition with chronic pain. When a dog has dry eye, it will have cloudy eyes, dry and dull eye appearance, mucous discharge, redness around the eye whites, excessive blinking, and squinting.


Dry eye is treated with regular use of topical antibiotics and tear-inducing medicine. However, in case the issue has advanced, the vet will suggest surgery. However, before the medication and surgery, the tests will be conducted to determine the amount of moisture and tear production.

Cherry Eye

Approximately 6% of Boston terriers struggle from the cherry eye, and it can be extremely painful. It impacts the third eyelid of the dog and happens when the gland bulges and pops from the original position.

Consequently, it will result in a swollen eye. A cherry eye is defined as a congenital problem and looks like a tumor, and there will be a red mass coming out of the eye.


Cherry eye must be corrected with a surgical treatment because it’s important to reposition the tear gland and third eyelid. Also, regular checkups are suggested to ensure timely diagnosis.

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is caused by hereditary conditions, and it starts by creating excessive fluid, resulting in the white appearance of the corner.

As a result, the deepest layer of the cornea will be impacted and will be extremely painful. This eye disease starts appearing when dogs are around five years of age, but some of them also develop corneal dystrophy at the age of seven.


It can be extremely difficult to treat this corneal disease, but the common treatments include topical eye drops or corneal repair surgery.

However, it’s suggested to take your dog regularly for a checkup as it’s much easier to treat corneal dystrophy in the early stage.


This eye condition causes excessive eyelash growth on the inner eyelid’s surface. It can lead to corneal ulcers and will be extremely discomforting. In fact, a corneal ulcer caused by distichiasis won’t heal because the dog will rub the eyes, causing the condition to worsen and be impossible to treat.


The only treatment for distichiasis is removing the hair, but you must take your dog to the vet for this purpose. Also, regular eye checkups should be scheduled to prevent the issues. Do ask the vet about a proper diet.


There are two known forms of strabismus, depending on the eyes’ turning direction. For instance, the convergent strabismus is caused when the eyes turn inward, while divergent strabismus causes both eyes to turn in an outward direction. The eye condition is caused in one eye, but the majority of Boston terriers struggle with strabismus in both eyes.

It is an inherited condition that changes the eyeball direction but doesn’t impact the location. This means that the eye position will remain normal.

Common signs of strabismus include problems in walking, appetite loss, difficulty in positioning the eye, and head tilting. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for strabismus but the vet can prescribe medications to slow down the progression.