PROLAPSE OF THE GLAND OF THE THIRD EYELID.
Prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid It is one of the most common affections of the nictitating membrane. It affects dogs approximately 1-2 years of age with no apparent sex predilection. It can also affect cats, but much less commonly. The pathogenesis is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a weakness in the connective tissue that attaches the gland to the periorbital tissue. It is also believed that lymphoid hyperplasia in young dogs due to exposure to allergens in the environment may be part of the cause. It has recently been noted that there is also a genetic predisposition in certain breeds where the mode of heritability appears to be complex and potentially multigenic.
Third eyelid gland prolapse clinic
Clinically it has a characteristic appearance. It presents as a round pinkish mass that appears behind the nictitating membrane at the medial canthus of the eye. Due to chronic exposure of the gland, its size may increase and inflammation and infection of the gland may occur. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca can occur in 43% of eyes with uncorrected gland prolapse.
Treatment of third eyelid gland prolapse
Regarding treatment, traditionally, the removal of the gland was resorted to. Today repositioning it in the orbital area is recommended since this gland contributes to tear production and its removal can cause keratoconjunctivitis sicca. The most used surgical techniques are the pocket technique and orbital rim anchorage with the former being the most popular.
Surgical repositioning of the gland does not guarantee that affected dogs will not develop keratoconjunctivitis sicca in the long term since breeds normally affected by gland prolapse often also suffer from keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
At Panacea Vet we always recommend surgical repositioning of the gland, with the pocket technique being our preferred technique. If the gland is very inflamed, it is recommended to treat it with a topical anti-inflammatory (eg dexamethasone) 2-3 times a day for a week prior to surgery. If you want to learn more about the treatment of this ailment, you can sign up for our practical ophthalmology course.
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