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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19835
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Seems like my dog has a slight lazy eye

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My dog looks like he has a contact lens covering one of his eyes. It looks different than the other eye. He almost looks like he has a slight lazy eye. But I can see a ring going around the white of his eye.

Hi Sir or Madam,

I have been working professionally with animals, especially dogs, in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Does it look like there is a cloudiness to the eye?
Is there any discharge from the eye?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Both eyes have the usual eye discharge that the dogs of that breed and others like him have. There is no cloud covering his eye like you would see with cataracts. He is only 10 months old. I've had him for about a month.

When I first brought him home, his hair around his eyes was a little long, but I did notice that every once in awhile it looked like he had a lazy eye. Like a person would have.

I got him groomed on Thursday and my son also commented on him having a lazy eye. Today, the light caught his eye and that's when I saw this ring around his iris (the colored part). It looks exactly like my eye does when I have a contact lens in my eye. About five minutes ago I wanted to show my husband what I was talking about, so I got out the flashlight.

He does have that ring I was talking about but he also has no color in parts of the top of his iris. You can see where the color should be, but it's just clear and white.

He doesn't act like it bothers him. I'm just concerned because I know that dogs can have problems with their 2nd and 3rd eyelids.

I re-read his health history from his previous vet; it mentions the discharge but says that the eyes are perfectly healthy. That was in April.


Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I don't want to rule out the start of clouding of the eye since it may just be starting. Clouding of the eye isn't just caused by cataracts though the breed can be prone to juvenille cataracts. It can also be caused by corneal ulceration and injury to the eye.
A corneal ulcer may be caused by injury, eyelashes, scratching the eye and has similar symptoms to those of glaucoma and anterior uveitis. This is a very good possibility given the breed of your dog which I will go over in more detail. The third eyelid frequently covers the eye so sometimes the eye is not able to be seen with a corneal ulceration. You can read about this here:

You can read up on Cataracts here:

The following site goes over reasons for cloudiness of the eye just in case it develops..

Shih Tzus as a breed have shallow eye sockets. They are prone to eye problems such as not being able to close their eyelid over the cornea of the eye (lagophthalmos ). Due to this problem they have the tendency to develop an inflammation of the cornea (Keratitis) which can become ulcerative in its severest form. This can lead to scaring that can decrease vision. In addition, due to they way the eye socket is, the eyelid can clamp behind the eyeball cutting off oxygen to the retina which can lead to blindness if not treated immediately. This is called proptosis.

They also can have problems with dry eye and their eyelashes irritating the eyeball and possibly causing chronic corneal irritation. These conditions are Distichiasis and Ectopic Cilia. They also can have hereditary cataract or juvenile cataracts and PRA which leads to blindness. Dogs can also develop a luxating lens as well.

That clear spot you describe could be a corneal ulcer and the lazy eye movement you describe be a pain reaction. We do see some rolling of the eyes in reaction to eye pain. Dogs are not like people and they try to not show their pain at all. As you have seen, this could be an emergency situation depending on the severity of the condition. Given that your breed is prone to a lot of eye issues, I would have Max seen as soon as possible.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How do they treat corneal ulcers?


Generally speaking, corneal abrasions and ulcerations are treated with antibiotic ointments or solutions. It does need to be applied to the affected eye frequently. It is best treated by a specialist but I would start with a trip to your vet. The following site does give you an idea of some of the medications that are frequently prescribed.
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