What Are Jack Russell's Eye Problems? How To Treat?

What Are Jack Russell’s Eye Problems? How To Treat?

Recently, one of my friends asked whether Jack Russells get eye problems or not. At that moment, I thought of writing an article about Jack Russell’s eye problems because many people are unaware of this.

So, do Jack Russell Terriers have eye problems? And how to treat Jack Russell’s eye problems? The answer is yes; Jack Russells have eye problems. Cataracts, Distichiasis, Glaucoma, Lens Luxation, Corneal Dystrophy, Entropion, and Distichiasis, are some of the common eye diseases of JRTs. We will discuss the steps to follow in treating their eye problems further. 

By reading this text, you may understand whether JRTs have eye problems or not. Then, let’s identify Jack Russell’s eye problems and the age at which they have eye problems.

Finally, let’s understand how to treat the eye problems of JRTs together with the tips to care for their eyes. Let’s start!

Do Jack Russells have eye problems?

Jack Russell Terrier is a dog breed used as hunting dogs. Therefore the almond-shaped eyes should be healthy to do their job. It is essential for them.

So, does Jack Russell’s eye problems are there or not? Yes, they have. Some people think that washing their eyes can prevent eye diseases.

Yet, regular cleaning is not sufficient to protect them from eye diseases. The dogs that have problems with their eyes can often become very grumpy.

At the same time, they will not be able to see around them clearly and easily can trip up over unseen obstacles and may even start getting scared of their shadows.

Therefore having an idea about eye diseases can prevent them from complete blindness and other diseases. 

Jack Russell’s common eye problems 

Several eye diseases occur in dogs. Corneal damage, Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), Pinkeye (conjunctivitis), Eyelid mass, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Cherry eye, and Entropion are some of the eye diseases.

Among these diseases, Cataracts, Distichiasis, Glaucoma, Lens Luxation, Corneal Dystrophy, Entropion, and Distichiasis are the most common Jack Russell Terrier eye problems.

Now let’s look at each of these diseases separately.

  • Lens luxation

Lens luxation is also known as Ectopia lentis. There are two types of lens locations. They are Posterior luxation and anterior luxation.

Posterior luxation means that the lens slips to the back of the eye, and anterior luxation refers to its slipping to the front of the eye.

The lens inside the eye is the part that focuses the light onto the retina. If the place with a ligament is damaged, it can lead to the lens becoming dislodged and moving behind the iris.

This posterior luxation does not harm the dog’s vision, but it can sometimes lead to eye problems when trying to breed.

In anterior luxation, the lens can possibly damage the cornea. It is the most common eye disorder passed down in generations of Jack Russell Terriers.

  • Cataracts

Cataracts can be considered a common eye disorder in older Jack Russell Terriers. This happens when the eye lens is hard and characterized by cloudiness in the eye or a spot on the eye’s lens.

It occurs when normal transparency loses on the eye’s lens. It assumes as a hereditary disease, but this can also happen due to other reasons like eye injury, exposure to great heat, radiation, diabetes, and old age.

This problem can make an impact on the eye of Jack Russells. It may blur the vision and may lead to blindness. Therefore proper treatments at the appropriate time are a necessity.

  • Glaucoma 

Glaucoma is a disease that is more common in dogs than in cats. It occurs due to a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball.

The increased pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve, which relays vision messages from the eye to the brain. There are two types of glaucoma. They are primary glaucoma and secondary glaucoma.

Primary glaucoma occurs with an inherited abnormal angle at the point where the iris and the cornea meet, thus obstructing the exit of fluid from the eye.

The secondary is inflammation of structures within the eye. It can cause infections or autoimmune diseases, trauma, or cancer.

The other important fact is that glaucoma-affected dogs do not show sudden signs of blindness or pain. It takes time. Their vision loss is slower, and it takes months or even years to develop. 

  • Distichiasis

Distichiasis is an abnormal growth of small hair structures on the inner surface of the upper or lower eyelids. In simple terms, Distichiasis is when a Jack Russell has extra eyelashes.

It is common in dogs where eyelashes develop in an abnormal location, emerging from the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin.

Aberrant hairs can occur in any breed of dog. American Cocker, bulldog, cocker spaniel, cockerpoo, dachshund, poodle Shih Tzu, and Jack Russell Terrier are primarily common.

This disease irritates the cornea, and it may become ulcerated. Sometimes it can appear bluish color, and this irritation often causes discomfort.

Your Jack Russell may squint a lot or rub his eyes. Distichiasis should treat surgically unless it results in blindness. When treating Antibiotic eye drops are used to eliminate infections in surgery. 

At what age JRTs get eye disorders?

When discussing the age of the dogs which get eye diseases, some eye disorders can occur at any age. Still, most are pretty common in senior dogs.

Considering the Lens luxation, it is genetic in the Jack Russell Terrier and usually occurs between 3 and 8 years. Lens luxation is hereditary with recessive expression.

A mutation of the ADAMTS17 gene explicitly causes this eye disease, and 27% of Jack Russel Terrier is a carrier of this mutation responsible for the Lens Luxation.  

How to treat Jack Russell’s eye problems?

This article has discussed different eye problems that can affect your Jack Russell Terrier. Yet, we still did not discuss protecting them from those diseases.

You should follow several steps to treat your Jack Russells eye diseases.  

  • You can follow home remedies such as non-medical sterile saline. It helps to rinse and flush the eye, but it can be taken only as a short-term solution if your dog has an infection yet.
  • You can use a warm, moist towel to gently clean the discharge from the corners of your dog’s eyes and facial area.
  • Suppose you find signs of swelling, irritation, and redness after rinsing your dog’s eye. In that case, it’s time to see your veterinarian.
  • Some people use human eye drops for dogs. But do not use human eye drops or medications for dogs because dogs can have adverse reactions to these human medications.
  • Suppose someone is treating your dog at home. In that case, you can use either Tomlyn sterile eyewash, and Nutri-vet eye rinses liquid for dogs, especially when flushing a dog’s eye at home.
  • Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse for Dogs is made of boric acid, and it helps to reduce eye irritations and flushes gently. 
  • Contacting your veterinarian as much as possible is the best option if you identify any change in the dog’s eyes.

Tips for caring for your Jack Russell’s eyes

There are many steps and tips that we can follow to protect Jack Russell from eye problems. Now I will explain some simple tips that we can go through to keep Jack Russells away from eye diseases.     

  • Check whether the eyes are clear or not.
  • By checking your dogs’ eyes daily, you can check whether there is any change in the eyes.
  • You can directly look into their eyes to check it.
  • If you find their eyes in red, do contact a respective doctor.
  • Regular checking
    • Try your best to check your dogs’ eyes regularly.
    • Clean your dogs’ faces regularly.
    • Brush their teeth and coat regularly.
    • Trim hair around the dogs’ eyes.
    • You can use goggles designed for dogs to protect their eyes if you are going outside.
    • Follow the schedule of examinations and vaccinations and take necessary steps to that.
  • Follow routine care
    • Maintain a balanced diet and exercise routine.
    • Feed a high-quality diet according to their age.
    • Exercise your dog for at least 40 minutes per day.
    • Do not let your dog associate with other dogs that have diseases.

By following the steps mentioned above and tips, you can avoid your Jack Russell eye problems since prevention is better than the cure. 

Final thoughts about JRT’s eye health

Finally, in conclusion, I can state that Jack Russells are a set of dogs assigned for hunting and their primary function is to hunt foxes. Therefore their eyes should be kept healthy to fulfill their task.

Like the other dogs, Jack Russells also get eye problems. I must mention that Jack Russell’s eye problems can cure if you take precautions and necessary steps to protect and prevent them from the above-mentioned eye problems.

I hope that this article will help many people understand Jack Russell’s eye problems and avoid them since many people are unaware of them. Russell Terrier counts on their parents to take good care of them.

So as a loving pet parent of a Jack Russell Terrier, you will look forward to taking care of them from Jack Russell’s eye problems and ensuring that they live a long and healthy life.

Finally, it is obvious that if you do not look after Jack Russell’s eyes, they may not see things very well, leading to a very grumpy dog.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed. Have a nice day!


  • Lisa Watson

    Lisa W. is a practicing certified veterinarian (BVetMed Hons in Veterinary Medicine) who graduated from Royal Veterinary College, UK. One of her research fields is mixed-dog breeds and their temperament, behavioral issues, and genetic health concerns. Also, she gathers data about purebred dog breeds and their origin, lifespan, and genetic conditions. Lisa is a loving dog parent who is keen to share her expertise with other fellow dog parents.

    [email protected]

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