There are many diseases that can affect the eyes of dogs in general, but the eye disease that most commonly occurs in animals is certainly the "corneal ulcer".
The Boston Terrier, like the rest of brachycephalic dogs, is among the breeds especially predisposed. The breed standard calls for "open, large, round and dark eyes”. And precisely these prominent eyes make them quite prone to injuries mainly by trauma of varying degrees.
Sometimes corneal ulcers may be difficult to treat and if they are complicated by severe infections or corneal perforation, can trigger the loss of the eye.
There are also other eye diseases that are not uncommon in the Boston Terrier, many of which are manifested as a result of a genetic predisposition and may be inherited.
"Cataract" is the opacification of a lens inside the eye, which loses its transparency as a result and leads to blindness. Two styles have been described in Boston Terriers: the EHC (Early Hereditary Cataract) appearing at 6 months of age and progressing to opacity in 2-3 years (with genetic test) and LHC (Late Hereditary Cataract), which appears after 4-6 years and has a variable progression (no genetic test). In both cases the cataracts are inherited.
"Cherry Eye " is a prolapse of the lacrimal gland of the nictitating membrane (also known erroneously as the third eyelid) and occurs in approximately 6% of the Boston Terriers according to the 2001 Health Survey . This is a birth defect, an effect of a predisposition of the breed. The mode of inheritance is unknown. Replacement surgery by the lacrimal gland is essential to avoid the consequences of a dry eye in the future. Under no circumstances (except tumor) should the gland be removed.
"Corneal Dystrophy" is also a typical genetic disease of this breed. According to Dr. Julie Gionfrido, Diplomate ACVO, the Boston Terrier has a form of endothelial dystrophy that usually begins in middle age (5 to 7 years). Its way of inheritance is unknown. The disease begins as an accumulation of fluid (edema) which causes the cornea to become cloudy and whitish. It starts at the edge of the cornea, progresses centrally and often involves the entire cornea. It can cause painful ulcers on the cornea that are difficult to treat.
"Glaucoma" is one of the most serious and complicated diseases in ophthalmology. It is difficult to "predict" its development in the future, but a deep eye examination can reveal evidences of a possible predisposition. Glaucoma affects about 1% of the Boston Terrier, according to some statistics. It’s a sudden increase in intraocular pressure and if left unchecked, leads inevitably to blindness accompanied by great pain.
"Distichiasis" is a disease where eyelashes grow abnormally on the inner surface of the eyelid. Sometimes they are asymptomatic but others cause discomfort, conjunctivitis and even corneal ulcers. The elimination of these conflicting eyelashes solves the problem.
"Entropion" is the inversion of a portion of the lid margin causing a brush of hairs on the surface of the cornea and therefore, inflammation usually accompanied by
corneal ulceration. For the physiognomy of its nose, it is not surprising that the Boston Terrier suffers a lower nasal entropion, but that rarely has serious consequences. In problematic cases, a
plastic surgery for the eyelid usually solves the problem. It is also considered an inherited disorder.
"Keratoconjunctivitis sicca" is commonly known as "dry eye" and is estimated to occur in 1 out of 50 Boston Terriers at an early age. It is a decrease in tear production usually by immune mediated causes. It can lead to painful and chronic eye infections. If medical treatment is applied before the problem becomes chronic, the eye usually responds well and can be controlled. It is believed to be inherited, but the mode of inheritance is unknown.