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5 Eye Problems of Bichon Frise Dog (Complete Guide)

Bichon Frise Turning Pink or Brown

Eye Problems of Bichon Frise Dog / Types of Discharge From a Dog’s Eyes:

1. Crust or Small Goop:

Eye Problems of Bichon Frise Dog. Tears are normal discharges from the eyes to protect the eye, and they play a vital role in maintaining the eyes’ health. They provide nourishment and oxygen to the cornea (the transparent present at the front side of the eye). Tears typically also help in removing debris from the dog’s eye’s surface.

At the inner corner of both eyes, there are ducts which usually drained the tears, but sometimes a little crust or Goop will accumulate there. This material is made of dead cells, dried tears, mucus, oil, dust, etc., and is typically clear or slightly brownish with a reddish tinge in it. The crust or Goop should be easy to remove with a warm, damp cloth.

If you think your dog’s crust is way more than usual, take him to a Vet-Doc.

2. Dog’s Watery eyes: 7 Irritants

Excessive eye watering, also known as epiphora, is associated with many different conditions that range from relatively benign to severe.

Here are a few familiar causes of watery eyes in dogs:

  • Foreign material in the eye
  • Corneal wounds
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Structural deformities (e.g., rolled-in eyelids or prominent eyes)
  • Glaucoma in dogs
  • Allergies
  • Irritants

If your dog has a slight increase in tears, but his eyes appear normal in all other respects, and he doesn’t seem to be in any trouble or discomfort. Then it’s appropriate to monitor the situation for a day or two.

Your dog may have contracted pollen or dirt, and increased tears may solve the problem. But if his eyes continue to water or your dog develops red, painful eyes or other types of discharge, see your veterinarian.

5 Eye Problems of Bichon Frise Dog (Complete Guide) 1
bichon frise eye gunk

3. Brownish Red Tear Stains:

Light-colored dogs often produce a brownish-red discoloration in their skin near the inner corner of their eyes. This is due to a critical pigment called porphyrin, present in tears, which turns brownish red with prolonged air exposure.

In the absence of other problems, tear stains are common in this area and are merely a cosmetic concern. If you want to reduce your dog’s tear stains, use or more of these solutions:

Moisten the area with warm water and a cloth a few times a day or use an eye-cleansing solution designed specifically for dogs.

  • Keep the fur-trimmed short around your dog’s eyes
  • Try giving your dog an antibiotic-free dietary supplement that reduces tear stains.
  • Keep in mind that it can take various months to remove affected porphyrin, and you must be consistent while doing the treatment.

If you notice any of the given below symptoms, see your veterinarian for an eye examination.

  • Increasing the number of tear stains
  • Changes in the appearance of your dog’s tear stains
  • Your dog’s eyes became reddish and painful

4. Grey-White Mucus:

Dry eye (KCS or keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is a condition that usually develops when a dog’s immune system attacked the tear staining glands and destroy them.

With a few tears, the body tries to compensate by making more mucus to lubricate the eyes. But mucus cannot replace or perform all the tears’ functions, so the eyes become red and painful and cause ulcers and abnormal corneal discoloration.

If left untreated, KCS can cause severe discomfort and blindness. If you notice gray-white mucus accumulation around your dog’s eyes, see your veterinarian. They can perform a simple procedure called the “Schimer Tear Test” to differentiate KCS from other diseases associated with increased mucus production in the eye.

Most dogs respond well to KCS treatment, including tacrolimus, cyclosporine, artificial tears, and other medications. Surgery may be considered but should be reserved for those cases when treatment fails.

KCS Treatment in Dogs

5. Green or Yellow Eye Discharge:

A dog whose eyes turn green or yellow often has an eye infection, especially if the eyes’ redness and discomfort are apparent. Eye infections can develop as a coexisting problem with other ailments (dry eyes, KCS, etc.) or injuries that weakens the eye’s natural defenses against the disease.

Sometimes an eye infection signifies that the dog has a systemic disease or a problem affecting the nervous system, respiratory tract, or other body parts.

5 Bichon Frise Eye Diseases/Problems:

1. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a severe eye disease in which the pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP), increases. Intraocular pressure is measured with an instrument known as a tonometer.


Glaucoma, a situation of the eye that affects people and dogs, especially Bichon Frises, is a severe illness that can lead to rapid blindness if left untreated.


  1. Primary glaucoma results in an increase in intraocular pressure in a healthy eye. Some breeds suffer more than others. This is due to inherited structural and anatomical abnormalities in the drainage angle.
  2. Secondary glaucoma is due to eye disease or injury, which increases the intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma in Dogs / bichon frise crusty eyes

These are the most common causes of glaucoma in dogs:

  • Uveitis is known as inflammation of the inner part of the eye or severe intraocular infection that causes debris and scar tissue to block the drainage angle.
  • Anterior dislocation of the dog’s eye’s lens: The lens leans forward and physically blocks the drainage angle or pupil so that fluid gets trapped behind the dislocated lens.
  • Tumors and Cancers may cause physical obstruction of the iridocorneal angle.
  • Intraocular bleeding: If there is bleeding in the eye, blood clots may prevent the aqueous humor discharge.
  • Damage to lens: Lens proteins leak into the eye due to a torn or ruptured lens, causing an inflammatory response, which leads to swelling and obstruction at the ducts’ angle.


It is essential to reduce IOP as soon as possible to reduce the risk of blindness and irreversible damage. It is also vital to treat any underlying disease that is responsible for glaucoma.

Analgesics are usually prescribed to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Medications that reduce the fluid production and promote drainage are often prescribed to treat increased pressure inside the eyes. Long-term medical therapy may include drugs such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (e.g., dorzolamide 2.5 ٪) or beta-adrenergic blocking agents (e.g., 0.6% Timolol).

In severe or advanced cases, medical treatment should often be accompanied by surgery. Veterinary naturopaths use a variety of surgical techniques to reduce intraocular pressure. In some rare cases that do not respond to medical therapy or blindness, eye removal may be recommended to relieve pain and discomfort.

Ensure Follow-up treatment:

Once glaucoma is diagnosed and its treatment is started, follow-up monitoring will be necessary. Initially, your veterinarian will recommend several follow-up examinations to ensure that your dog responds appropriately to treatment or not. If not, then he can make medication adjustments.

What is the Prognosis of Glaucoma?

Prognosis depends on the degree to which the underlying cause of glaucoma occurs. In the long run, ongoing medical treatment will be needed to control the disease.


Secondary glaucoma will be prevented by keeping your dog away from wounds, injuries, and accidents. However, primary glaucoma is not preventable because it is the result of genetics.

But steps may be taken earlier to slow down any changes in your dog’s eyes and reduce the chances of developing glaucoma.


  • Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamins B9, B12, B6, C, E, A, and neutraceuticals can all be taken to reduce the amount of damage to eye cells.
  • Reducing stress in your pet’s environment can help eliminate oxidative damage throughout the body, including the eyes.
  • It is also important to alleviate pressure on your dog’s neck because we do not want to increase intracranial or intraocular pressure through a tight collar or harness system.
  • For older pets and high-risk breeds, be sure to have your veterinarian check your dog’s eye pressure during a health check.

Regardless of the type of potency of glaucoma your dog has, the best way to detect the condition’s development and its consequent blindness is to deal with glaucoma causes that are often associated with it. The best way to prevent further damage is to identify the eye’s pressure changes and seek medical attention soon.

Is There a Vaccine for Glaucoma?

There is no vaccine to prevent the onset of glaucoma.

2. Cataracts

Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss in dogs.


In a healthy eye, light travels through the lens to the cornea (the windscreen of the eye) and the back of the eye (retina). The lens is usually a transparent disc and is located behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). A healthy and accurate lens allows light to enter the eye, and the lens transmits and focuses light on the retina, resulting in a sharper image. A cataract is a place where the lens becomes cloudy, interfering with the passage of light. Cataracts may be merely present that visually interferes with vision or is much more severe, leading to loss of sight.

Cataracts are a general cause of blindness in older Bichons Dogs. Many dogs adjust well to losing their vision and recover.

Cataracts in Dogs

Hereditary Cataracts

Bichon Frize can suffer from hereditary cataracts, which may be treated or not. It depends upon the severity of the cataract. It is recommended that dogs be screened for cataracts and other eye conditions before bred to ensure that dogs are free of cataracts and can lead healthy lives.


Vision loss due to cataracts can frequently be restored through surgery. A veterinarian will surgically remove the lens, replacing it with a plastic or acrylic lens. Cataract surgery usually has a success rate, but your veterinarian will need to determine if your dog is a candidate for the right surgery. The procedure also requires extensive postoperative care.


To avoid this, use antibiotics or eye drops with vitamins, especially vitamin A.

3. Ulcers

Dog eye ulcers are called corneal ulcers.


What is a Corneal Ulcer?

The erosion of some layers of epithelium is called corneal corrosion. A corneal ulcer is a deeper incision through the entire epithelium and into a stroma. Through corneal ulcers, tears are absorbed into the fluid stroma, giving the eye a cloudy appearance.

The descemetocele is formed if the erosion passes through the epithelium and stroma and reaches the Descemet’s membrane. A descemetocele is a severe condition. If the Descemet’s membrane ruptures, the fluid inside the eyeballs leaks out, the eye collapses, and irreparable damage occurs.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers:

The most common cause is trauma. Ulcers can result from broken trauma, such as a dog rubbing its eyes on a carpet, or due to laceration, such as a scratch or sharp object. Another common cause is chemical burns of the cornea. This can happen when irritating substances or chemicals such as shampoo or drywall dust get into the eye.

Less common causes of corneal ulcers include viral infections, bacterial infections, and other diseases.


Treatment depends on whether there are corneal ulcers, corneal abrasions, or descemetocele present.

Corneal damage usually heals within three to five days. Medicines (typically ophthalmic or atropine eye drops or ointments) generally are used to relieve cramps and pain, and for bacterial infections, eye antibiotic drops or ointments are used.

Antibiotic drops are only useful for a short time, so it is essential to apply them frequently. The ointment lasts a little longer but still needs to be used every few hours. Depending on your pet’s condition and medication acceptance, antibiotic preparations should be administered every five to six hours for best results. On the other hand, atropine usually lasts for many hours, so this drug is only needed every 24 to 48 hours.


Always take care of your dog and protect his eyes from injuries caused by sharp or sharp objects. Never allow your pet to go beyond your vision.

4. Dry eye


A sticky, hard eye discharge can indicate a dry eye of your canine friend. It’s a failure to produce enough tears to clean the eyes. Dry eye symptoms may include inflammation and mucus.

This may be due to a knock on the head near the tear-producing glands, an injury, or the body’s immune system attacking the tear gland. Infection is a harsh risk for dogs with dry eyes that may lead to painful swollen eyes. Ulcers on the cornea or the eye’s surface are also at high risk because, without the lubricating effect of tears, opening and closing the dry eyelid can scratch the surface of the eye.


Treatment for dry eye depends on its severity and can involve artificial tears for a mild dry eye for several weeks. Antibiotic eye drops help manage secondary infections. Immunosuppressive drugs are used to help control the immune system. Or surgery is the last option.


To prevent this, use eye drops with extra nutrients, especially vitamin A.

5. Corneal Lipidosis

Corneal lipidosis is the accumulation of fatty substances/fatty acids (normal cholesterol) within the cornea layers.


What Causes Corneal Lipidosis?

There are three leading causes of corneal lipidosis: corneal dystrophy, corneal degeneration, and high blood cholesterol levels.

Corneal dystrophy is a genetic condition and is more common in dogs. This condition is rarely seen in cats. It is usually present in both eyes. It is not painful and has minimal effect on vision. Some commonly infected breeds include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Siberian Huskies, American Cooker Spaniels, Alaskan Malamutes, and Collies.

Corneal degeneration is secondary to inflammation in the eye. It is usually associated with other eye diseases such as anterior uveitis (choroid, iris, and ciliary body inflammation), scleritis (inflammation of the sclera), or keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Lipid accumulation is sometimes associated with trauma, such as after a corneal ulcer that fills with lipid deposits. It is widespread and common in dogs than in other animals.

Finally, elevated cholesterol levels (hyperlipidemia) can cause corneal lipidosis. The leading causes may be Cushing’s disease, diabetes, long-term steroid use, or hypothyroidism.

What are the Clinical Symptoms of Corneal Lipidosis?

Lipid deposits in the cornea appear in shiny, prominent, or well-defined areas of crystalline material. When lipidosis is caused by corneal degeneration, other signs are inflammation, redness, or cloudiness in the eye.


Treatment of corneal lipidosis depends on the cause. Corneal dystrophy does not require treatment. Your veterinarian will periodically monitor your pet’s eyes for the development of ulcers.

Corneal degeneration requires treatment of the eye’s initial inflammatory condition, including antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Finally, in any case, it should be treated directly to lower blood cholesterol levels. Lowering cholesterol (oat bran, flaxseed oil, and niacin) with diet and supplementation can lower cholesterol levels.


It’s easy to avoid feeding your pet foods high in cholesterol and fat, such as large amounts of dairy products.

Other common infectious and non-infectious causes of eye discharge in dogs and their treatment


If your dog has clear and clean eye discharge, but in more quantity, it is due to allergies or physical things in the eye, such as dust in the eyes or blowing wind on the face. A discharge of water or mucus from one eye is often a sign of an external body, such as an eyelash, while a green-yellow or purulent discharge from the eye can indicate a severe infection. Always talk to your doctor about the underlying cause of your dog’s eye discharge, as some problems can lead to blindness or eye damage if left untreated.

Epiphora (excessive tearing):

Watery or teary eyes, resulting in stained or smelly fur and infected skin, can also lead to several conditions, including epiphora, inflammation, allergies, abnormal eyelashes, and corneal ulcers. Epiphora is usually produced due to excessive tearing of eyes due to any disease or condition like dry eye, KCS, cataract, etc. It is more of a condition rather than a disease.

Breed Issues:

Flat-faced dogs like Boxers, Pugs, Pekingese, and bulldogs may be more at risk of cataracts than other breeds, as their flattering faces often mean eye sockets and wide eyes.

Called the brachycephalic breeds, dogs may have more prominent eye irritation and eye drainage problems genetically. Eyelids that roll inward, known as Entropion, are more common in them, leading to other severe conditions.

These are some common causes of eye discharge in dogs. Since eye problems can sign a brain or nerve injury, infection, or another severe issue, let an experienced dog eye doctor check your dog to determine what is behind your dog’s eye discharge.

How to Wash Dog Eyes (Steps):

  • Using a damp washcloth or sponge with water.
  • Gently clean the area around the eye to loosen and remove the dirt.
  • Never wipe the eye itself.
  • Make sure to approach the area slowly so you don’t surprise your dog.
  • Moist cotton balls can also be used to help target a specific area around your eye where the globe is formed.
  • Never use soap or shampoo near your dog’s eyes as this can irritate or even damage your dog’s eyes.

Steps to apply medicine on your dog’s eye:

Eye infections/problems sometimes require eye drops or ointment to treat, both of which are easy to manage with some quick tips.

Method to Apply Eye drops:

  • Keep eye drops or ointment close at hand, then wipe off any leaking water/discharge around your dog’s eyes with a cotton ball plus warm water.
  • For eye drops, tilt your dog’s head slightly back. Then, place your hand on your dog’s head to not touch his eye with the dropper if the dog walks.
  • Squeeze the drops in the upper part of your dog’s eye.

Method to Apply Eye Ointments:

  • For eye ointment, gently pull down the lower eyelid of your dog, making a pocket for an ointment/semi-solid solution.
  • Put your hand on your dog’s head. That way, if the dog walks, you won’t hit the dog’s eye.
  • Then squeeze the ointment into the dog’s eye.

Smoothly open and close the lids for a few seconds to help the ointment or drops to spread evenly.

bichon frise crusty

Preventing Eye Problems in Dogs:

  • First, take a good look at the eyes of your dog.
  • Pupils of your furry friend should be the same size, and your dog’s eyes should be shiny, crust-free, with super white around the iris.
  • There should be little or no squinting, no tearing, and no visible inner eyelids.
  • Slowly and gently pull down your dog’s lower eyelids. They must be pink, not red or white.
  • If you see tear-stained fur, excessive discharge, cloudiness, tears, a third eyelid visible, closed or squinted eyes, or pupils of unequal size, something may be wrong. Now it’s time to call your doctor.
  • To help keep your dog’s eyes bright and healthy, keep long hair away from their eyes (take your dog to the best dog groomer or use round-tipped scissors to trim the hair).
  • Keep irritants such as shampoos, soaps, and flea medicines away from your furry friends.
  • And lastly, lookout for signs that may indicate eye problems, such as pawing or rubbing.

Bichon Frise Resource Links

Bichon Frise Club of AmericaUnited StatesLink
Bichon Frise AKCUnited StatesLink
Bichon Frise United Kennel ClubUKLink
Resources for Bichon Frise Owners and Breeders