Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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Eyelid Defects

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Entropion and ectropion are defects of the eyelids.  Entropion is an eyelid that rolls in toward the eyeball.  Ectropion is an eyelid that rolls out, leaving the pink mucus membrane on the inner side of the lid exposed.  Both conditions tend to be associated with loose skin on the face.  According to the breed standards, an Australian Shepherd’s face should be “clean and dry,” which means the facial skin conforms closely to the underlying tissue and the flews are tight along the mouth.  Neither of these eyelid defects should b e a problem in an Aussie with proper breed type; nevertheless they do sometimes occur.  Neither defect will pass an eye exam.

Both defects can be painful to the dog.  When a dog has entropion the lashes and even hair on the lid may scrape against the cornea every time the dog blinks, abrading its surface. The exposed mucosal skin caused by ectropion can become irritated or be damaged.  In the worst cases surgery may be required to restore the lid to a natural shape.

Loose facial skin predisposes dogs toward these defects and is against breed type.  Eyes should appear almond-shaped, not round, and the lids should not droop or roll.  Selecting for tight, “dry” faces should prevent both ectropion and entropion.  Affected dogs should not be bred.