Golden Retriever Eye Problems

Golden Retriever Eye Problems

The Golden retrieverOpens in a new tab., originally bred, especially for hunting, and possessed keen retrieving skills, is a wonderfully even-tempered breed. This is one reason that they are fluffyOpens in a new tab., delightful, and fun-loving family dogs.

The Golden retriever is intelligent and easy to trainOpens in a new tab., but also friendly, loving, and excellent with children.

They also make ideal therapy dogs with their kind, gentle nature, and big soulful eyes. When looking into your pup’s beautiful eyes you may wonder, “do Golden retrievers suffer from eye problems?”

Not all do, but some Golden retrieversOpens in a new tab. are predisposed to a few eye diseases that can require in-depth treatment while others are easier to remedy.

In this post, I will cover Golden retriever eye problemsOpens in a new tab., symptoms, causes, and treatments as well as how to treat dog eye infections at home.

To check your Golden Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vetOpens in a new tab. website for all the help you may need.

Golden Retriever Eye Problems
image from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Golden Retriever Eye Problems, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Reading about eye issues in Golden retrieversOpens in a new tab. doesn’t mean that yours will be affected by any mentioned. Being informed about possible problems, if they should occur, will help you know what to look for and be prepared.

Many eye diseases if diagnosed and treated early, can have a successful outcome. Listed below are a few eye conditions that Golden retrieversOpens in a new tab. can be affected by.

Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis

Pigmentary uveitis was first discovered in Golden retrievers in the 1990s and seemed to be more common in dogs living in the northeast United States. Now, however, it is prevalent in the entire U.S. and Canada.

This disease is hereditary in nature, but develops over years, so genetic testing can be done, but may not show anything until long after a breeding pair has puppies or even several litters.

In pigmentary uveitis, cysts that are thin-walled develop in your pup’s eyes, typically both eyes. These are sometimes visible, but often develop behind the pupil and may only be discovered through dilation and a thorough eye exam.

Pigmentary uveitis causes severe inflammation of the uveal tract, which is a layer of thin tissue between the retina and the cornea.

Blindness can occur, although due to complications of extended inflammation, cataracts or glaucoma will occur and these will be the cause of sight loss.

This disease can also cause pigmenting, where microscopic brown flecks begin floating in the eye and can block holes for drainage. It is unsure if this pigment blockage or inflammation from cysts causes glaucoma.

Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis Symptoms

  • Tearing or discharge
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Squinting
  • Cloudiness
  • A pattern of pigmentation around the lens like a wheel

Because this disease still has so many questions surrounding it, treatment can depend on your pup’s veterinary ophthalmologist and their own preference for treatments.

If this is found in the early stages and your retriever is placed on treatment for life, it will not progress further.

Treatments include lifetime steroid drops, which keep inflammation at bay, and/or vision supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids and lutein, much like eye supplements humans take for macular degeneration.

There are ongoing studies on pigmentary uveitis to prevent and treat, but recognizing the early warning signs and symptoms is key to stopping this disease in its tracks.

Golden Retriever Eye Problems, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Image by birglOpens in a new tab. from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy

CPRA or central progressive retinal atrophy is one of a group of degenerative diseases that can affect your Golden retriever’s eyes.

Being that atrophy means complete or partial wasting away, this is what occurs in CPRA. It affects the pigment or photoreceptor cells in the retina and causes them to deteriorate.

CPRA is another predisposed disease and will affect both eyes. Symptoms are:

  • Hesitance in dark areas and at night
  • Cataracts may develop causing clouded eyes

At present, there is no treatment, just to incorporate friendly surroundings, by not moving furniture, or leaving objects lying around and having patience with your pup in dark places at night. CPRA rarely causes total blindness, just very limited vision.

Golden Retriever Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common eye problem in Golden retrievers Opens in a new tab.and just as in humans, retrievers can develop them as they age. Congenital cataracts can be found earlier, between four and six years of age.

Cataracts are areas in the lens of the eye that become cloudy, causing vision changes like fuzziness or cloudiness and sensitivity to bright light and glare.

You may notice your pup squinting or bumping into things. If not treated, they can cause vision loss.

Golden retrievers can have different types of cataracts, some inherited, some due to progression of age or pigmentary uveitis, as mentioned above, and from diabetes mellitus.

Treatment for cataracts is surgery in inherited cases to prevent blindness. In non-inherited cataracts, medication is generally used as well as less invasive surgery, using a laser.

Golden retriever Glaucoma

Glaucoma is much more prevalent in dogs than in cats and is more common in purebred dogs.

It is often inherited, especially primary glaucoma, and again can be caused by pigmentary uveitis. Cataracts do cause severe pain in dogs and other symptoms are:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Red eyes that are very noticeably bloodshot
  • Tearing and squinting
  • Avoidance of bright light
  • Swollen eyes

Treatment is needed or blindness will occur. Eye drops are used to control the eye’s pressure and often surgery is needed.


This condition appears when your pup’s eyelid rolls into the eye, causing eyelashes to rub the cornea. Entropion can lead to corneal ulcers and infection, being quite painful.

Symptoms are watery eyes, squinting, and often keeping their eyes closed. Surgery is needed to treat entropion.

Golden Retriever Gconjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, often known as pink eye, is an inflammation of the eyelids and eye caused by either an irritant or eye condition and leads to infection. Causes can be:

  • Allergies
  • Dry eye
  • Foreign object
  • Injury
  • Tear duct issues
  • Canine distemper
  • Tumor

Symptoms are:

  • Watery eyes or greenish pus discharge
  • Red, inflamed eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Eyelids are stuck together and crusty
  • Rubbing of eyes

Conjunctivitis can occur in one eye or in both and is not a serious condition. You may try treating it at home. A few home remedies are:

  • Cold compresses
  • Saline eye drops or artificial tears
  • Elizabethan collar to deter rubbing

Treating your pup’s symptoms at home might be a cure but if it continues to be uncomfortable for your pup and they still have red irritated eyes, especially with continual green discharge it’s time to call in the cavalry.

An untreated eye infection can cause damage to the eye that is permanent. You may want to speak with your veterinarian.

They may wish to check your pup and prescribe antibiotic eye drops or for a more severe case, oral antibiotics along with drops. They may even prescribe over the phone.

Keep in mind that primary eye infections, which are contagious, are not as common in dogs as they are in people or even cats. usually, the symptoms and irritation in dogs are caused by the list above and lead to a secondary bacterial infection so they will not be contagious to you.

Conjunctivitis is most often called pink eye, but pink eye is the actual infection that is contagious. If you do have other pets, however, to be on the safe side you may want to try to separate them until your pup’s eye is clear.

Dry Eye

Just as in humans dry eye is annoying and can be painful causing your pup to rub their eyes constantly. Symptoms are excessive blinking or squinting, red eyes, and rubbing of the eyes.

Usually, lubricant eye drops are recommended as needed. This can lead to pink eye which can be prevented by ongoing use of the drops.

Corneal Trauma

Corneal trauma can occur during play or with a twig, branch, etc. Symptoms are watery eyes, squinting, red eyes, and rubbing of the eye.

This could lead to a corneal ulcer which would require surgery. A corneal abrasion can be treated with antibiotic drops or ointment. The eye heals quite quickly.

If you are considering adding a Golden retrieverOpens in a new tab. to your family, seek out only reputable breeders. There are many different eye diseases that are genetic in nature.

All breeding dogs should have appropriate DNA testing for genetic eye diseases that are available today.

With testing, this can vastly change the course of goldens that are bred, passing on hereditary eye disease as well as other conditions that your Golden retriever may be predisposed to.

Because of the questions surrounding pigmentary uveitis, this particular condition has no definite guarantee at this time but advances are being made in studying the disease.

Whichever breeder you choose, they should allow you to see their breeding facilities, breeding dogs, puppies, and all records.

If they are a serious breeder with a good reputation they should have excellent records regarding any and all DNA genetic testing they do and all results.

To ensure your golden retriever’s good eye health, make sure they are receiving the proper nutrition and also keep up with all of your pup’s very important wellness visits to their veterinarian.

Many of the symptoms of conditions and diseases listed above are similar so if you spot anything at all out of the ordinary or your pup seems to have watery, red eyes all the time, head to their veterinarian.

if any eye problems crop up, they can be identified, diagnosed, and treated promptly so your golden retriever has a bright future with bright eyes!

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