curly coated retriever eye problems

Save Your Retriever’s Vision: Understanding Curly Coated Retriever Eye Problems

Have you ever wondered about curly coated retriever eye problems? Or have you ever looked into your curly-coated retriever’s eyes and noticed something wasn’t right? As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends.

Unfortunately, many curly coated retrievers are prone to eye problems affecting their vision and overall health. As someone who has personally dealt with this issue, I can attest to the importance of recognizing and addressing curly coated retriever eye problems as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll dive into the various curly coated retriever eye problems and how you can help them maintain optimal eye health. So if you’re concerned about your curly coated retriever’s vision, keep reading.

Understanding Curly Coated Retriever Eye Problems

curly coated retriever eye problems

Curly-coated retrievers are beautiful, loyal, athletic dogs, perfect for families who love being active outdoors. These retrievers were developed in the 18th and 19th centuries in England for hunting. They are known for their curly, dense coat, strong build, and excellent swimming skills. They come in black and silver coat colors and have a unique appearance that makes them easy to recognize. These dogs are known to be loyal, intelligent, and independent.

However, like any other dog breed, curly coated retrievers are prone to specific health issues, including eye problems.

These issues are often passed down genetically from one generation to the next. Eye problems can cause significant discomfort and pain for your dog, leading to severe vision loss if left untreated. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the genetic risk factors associated with eye problems in this breed.

The Common Curly Coated Retriever Eye Problems

curly coated retriever eye problems

Now let’s look closer at the most common eye problems seen in curly-coated retrievers.

➡Hereditary Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, hindering the dog’s vision. Hereditary cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in curly-coated retrievers. Cataracts can appear in puppies as early as 6 to 12 months of age. This curly coated retriever eye problems symptoms include a cloudy appearance in the eye(s), difficulty seeing in dimly lit areas, and reluctance to perform tasks that require depth perception. Surgery can be performed to remove cataracts, restore vision, and prevent further damage.

➡Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal dysplasia is a congenital eye disease often present at birth but not visible until later. It occurs when the retina doesn’t develop properly, which can lead to loss of vision or complete blindness. Symptoms may include pupils that appear different sizes or an unusual gait. Unfortunately, retinal dysplasia has no cure, but pet owners can help manage the condition through regular monitoring, medication, or surgery.


Glaucoma is a disease that affects the fluid drainage system in the eye, which can lead to pressure buildup and damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, it can cause permanent blindness. Symptoms include redness, pain in or around the eye, and a noticeable enlargement of the eye. Curly-coated retrievers are prone to a form of primary closed-angle glaucoma. This curly coated retriever eye problems treatment options vary depending on the severity of the case, ranging from medication to surgical interventions.

➡Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a hereditary eye condition characterized by the gradual degeneration of the retina, leading to blindness. It affects both eyes, with the first symptom being difficulty seeing in dim light. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA, a progressive condition that worsens with time. However, DNA tests are available to identify disease carriers, and responsible breeders will check their breeding stock for PRA to ensure healthy offspring.

➡Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal Dystrophy is an inherited condition that affects the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. It leads to cloudy spots on the cornea that can cause vision problems. Although there is no cure for Corneal Dystrophy, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent vision loss and promote greater comfort for your dog. The treatment options for Corneal Dystrophy typically involve eye drops and ointments, while severe cases may require a corneal transplant.


Entropion is a common eyelid condition leading to irritation and infection. Symptoms of Entropion include watery eyes, excessive blinking, and rubbing of the eyes. Entropion can be congenital or develop later in life due to aging, injury, or infections. Treatment typically involves surgery to correct the eyelid’s position and stop the irritation.

These are the most common eye problems seen in curly-coated retrievers, but they are not the only ones. Other conditions can affect your dog’s eyes, including:


Conjunctivitis occurs when the tissue that lines the eyelids and covers the sclera (white part of the eye) becomes inflamed. A bacterial or viral infection, allergies, or foreign objects in the eye could cause the condition. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include eye redness, swelling, discharge, and excessive tearing. If left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to corneal ulcers, vision loss, or blindness.


Uveitis is a condition that occurs when the uvea, the pigmented layer of the eye, becomes inflamed. An eye injury, autoimmune disease, bacterial or viral infections, or cancer could cause it. Symptoms of uveitis include eye redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and eye pain. If left untreated, uveitis could lead to glaucoma or cataracts.

➡Dry Eye

Dry eye occurs when the tear glands don’t produce enough tears to moisten the eyes. The condition could be caused by environmental factors, such as dry air, or by medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases. Symptoms of dry eye include eye redness, itchiness, burning, and a gritty feeling in the eye. If left untreated, dry eye could lead to corneal ulcers, infections, or vision loss.

It’s important to note that you can often treat these conditions successfully with proper care. But if you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes or vision, it is important to contact your vet right away. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for successful outcomes.

Symptoms of Curly Coated Retrievers Eye Problems

curly coated retriever eye problems

Though we have mentioned some of the symptoms above, let’s dive in a little deeper so that you can detect any potential eye problems in your curly-coated retriever as soon as possible.

∎Eye Redness

If you notice that the eye of your curly-coated retriever is red or inflamed, it could indicate an eye problem. An eye infection or a foreign body stuck in the eye is a common cause of eye redness. Excessive rubbing or pawing of the eye can worsen it, leading to other complications.

∎Discharge from Eyes

Discharge from the eyes of a curly coated retriever can be an indication of eye problems. If there is a yellow, greenish, or pus-like discharge, it suggests an infection or inflammation. The secretion often gives your dog a sticky, matted look around the eyes.

∎Squinting or Blinking Frequently

Squinting or blinking excessively is yet another symptom of eye problems in curly coated retrievers. It can indicate corneal ulcers, cataracts, or other eye injuries. If your pet displays such symptoms, you must seek immediate medical attention.

∎Cloudy or Hazy Eyes

If your dog’s eyes do not appear bright and clear with a shiny surface, it could be a sign of clouding or haziness in the eye. This symptom usually indicates cataracts, a condition that usually affects older animals. A partially or completely cloudy eye can be painful and requires prompt medical intervention.

∎Change in Pupil Shape or Size

Curly-coated retrievers with eye problems may display changes in pupil shape or size. A sudden or unexpected alteration suggests varying conditions like glaucoma, uveitis, or retinal detachment. If the pupil of the affected eye appears to be different from the other, seek veterinary help immediately.

∎Unusual Eye Movements

If you notice that your curly coated retriever’s eyes are moving in an abnormal fashion, such as twitching, rolling back and forth, or jerking, it could be a sign of eye problems. This symptom may indicate something serious like retinal detachment or optic nerve damage. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian right away.

∎Excessive Tearing

Excessive tearing is another symptom of eye problems in curly coated retrievers. An eye infection, entropion, or foreign body in the eye could cause it. Excessive tearing can also cause irritation and other complications if left untreated.

Awareness of eye problem symptoms in curly-coated retrievers can help you detect any conditions as early as possible and seek appropriate medical attention. If your pet displays any of these signs, it is important to take it to the vet for a thorough examination. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for successful outcomes.

Preventive Measures and Treatments

The best approach to maintaining the eye health of your curly-coated retriever involves a combination of preventive care and timely treatments.

Preventive care starts with regular eye examinations. Visiting a veterinarian for routine check-ups can help detect early signs of potential eye problems. Another preventive measure is to manage the environment of your pet. Ensure your pet’s living area is clean and safe from hazards that may cause eye injuries. It is also essential to keep them away from irritants, such as smoke and dust, which could lead to dry eyes or conjunctivitis.

Regular grooming is another important preventive measure. Trim the hair around the eyes to prevent it from irritating the eye surface or introducing foreign bodies. Moreover, be mindful of any changes to your pet’s eyes. If you see any persistent redness or discharge or notice any changes in behavior, such as excessive blinking or rubbing of the eyes, consult your veterinarian immediately.

When it comes to treatment, the approach depends on the underlying issue. For conditions like conjunctivitis and dry eye, topical antibiotics or tear replacement therapies may be prescribed. In the case of entropion, it may require surgery to correct the eyelid position. More advanced therapies may be necessary for more serious conditions like cataracts or uveitis, including surgical interventions, anti-inflammatory medications, or a combination of treatments.

Remember, early diagnosis greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. By being proactive about your pet’s eye health, you can help ensure they have a happy and comfortable life.

The Importance of Regular Check-ups

It’s crucial to schedule regular vet check-ups for our pets to identify any health issues early on. Below are the importance of regular veterinarian check-ups for your pet’s eyes and the many benefits they provide.

✔️Early Detection and Treatment:

Eye problems can be serious and require immediate attention. Regular vet check-ups will enable a veterinarian to detect eye problems early and treat them before they become more severe. Some common eye problems pets can develop include glaucoma, cataracts, corneal ulcers, and conjunctivitis. The earlier they are detected, the easier they are to treat.


Regular check-ups can help prevent eye problems from developing in the first place. A veterinarian can perform an eye exam to determine if your pet is at risk for developing certain conditions. It can include checking for inherited eye problems, which are common in some dog breeds. Early detection can help prevent or delay the onset of certain conditions if they are identified early and managed correctly.

✔️Improved Quality of Life:

Pets rely heavily on their senses, including their vision. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can improve your pet’s quality of life by ensuring that their eyes remain healthy and that they are seeing properly. Clear vision is crucial to your pet’s safety and ability to enjoy activities.

✔️Developing a Relationship with Your Vet:

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian help build a relationship between pet owners and their pet’s veterinarian. This relationship is essential because it creates an open line of communication between pet owners and the veterinarian. Pet owners can discuss any concerns regarding their pet’s eyes, and veterinarians can offer advice on how to prevent or manage problems. Additionally, regular check-ups will ensure that your veterinarian has a complete medical history at their disposal, making it easier to provide accurate and effective treatment.

✔️Reduced Healthcare Costs:

Prevention is always less expensive than treatment. By bringing your pet to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, you can detect and treat eye problems early, potentially reducing the cost of veterinary care. Additionally, regular check-ups can help identify other health issues that may require attention, potentially saving money on treatment for more severe issues.

The health of their eyes is crucial and can be the key to a long and happy life. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear – book your pet for a regular check-up with a veterinarian. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can improve your pet’s quality of life, prevent injury, and reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there genetic tests available to screen for potential eye issues in Curly-Coated Retrievers?

Yes, there are genetic tests available that can screen for certain eye conditions in curly-coated retrievers. These tests can identify dogs that are carriers of specific genes that may lead to eye problems, such as (PRA), a disease that causes gradual vision loss. By identifying carriers of these genes, breeders can work to reduce the likelihood of passing on these genes to future generations.

What is distichiasis, and why is it important to monitor this breed?

Distichiasis is a condition where eyelashes grow in abnormal positions, irritating the eye. Curly-coated retrievers are prone to this condition, leading to discomfort, infection, and potentially even vision loss if left untreated. Owners must monitor their dog’s eyes for signs of distichiasis, such as excessive tearing, squinting, or rubbing at the eyes. Treatment may include plucking or removing the extra eyelashes, but surgery may be necessary in severe cases.

Are Curly-Coated Retrievers more sensitive to bright light or sunlight due to their coat type?

Curly-coated retrievers have a unique coat type that is made up of tight, curly hair. While this coat provides excellent skin protection, it can also create some sensitivity to bright light or sunlight. Owners should monitor their dogs for discomfort or squinting in bright conditions. They may consider using protective eyewear or keeping their dog in shaded areas during intense sunlight.

How does aging affect the eyes of Curly-Coated Retrievers, and what should I watch out for?

As dogs age, their eyes may be more prone to certain conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related vision loss. Owners should monitor their dog’s eyes for changes, such as cloudiness, pupil size shape changes, or increased tearing or discharge. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help identify any potential age-related eye issues before they become a serious problem.

Is there a link between hip dysplasia and eye problems in Curly-Coated Retrievers?

While hip dysplasia is not directly linked to eye problems in curly-coated retrievers, the breed is known to be at a higher risk for both conditions. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint does not develop normally, leading to arthritis and joint pain. Owners should be aware of the potential for both hip dysplasia and eye problems and take steps to manage these risks, such as maintaining a curly-coated retriever healthy weight and providing regular exercise and veterinary care.

Final Words

As I’ve explored throughout this topic, understanding and addressing eye problems in Curly-Coated Retriever is pivotal for its overall health and ensuring a high quality of life for your furry friend. As a Curly-Coated Retriever owner, you’re entrusted with the well-being of a loyal and loving companion. Every squint, tear, or unusual behavior could be an early warning sign of an eye condition. It’s a responsibility that goes beyond mere ownership – it’s about safeguarding their happiness and ability to play, explore, and experience life without hindrance.

Don’t let your pet’s vision be compromised; schedule regular check-ups with your vet. It’s not just about preventing or managing potential eye problems – it’s about ensuring your Curly-Coated Retriever can continue to see the world with the same zest and enthusiasm that makes them so special. Your quick action today can significantly impact their health and happiness in the long run.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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