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Microphthalmia

The eyeball is comprised of several structures including the cornea, iris, lens, chambers and the retina. The eyeball is located within the bony socket of the head and is partially protected by the three eyelids.

Microphthalmia is a condition in which the eyeball is smaller than normal. Usually the internal structures of the eyeball are abnormal as well. Microphthalmia is inherited in Australian Shepherds, Great Danes, Beagles, Collies, Borzoi, Dobermans, Sealyham Terriers, Bedlington Terriers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Shelties, Akitas, Miniature Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, Daschunds and Cavalier King Cocker Spaniels.

Microphthalmia can also occur in newborns whose mothers received certain medications during pregancy. This is seen, for instance, in pregnant queens who were treated for ringworm with griseofulvin.

What are the symptoms?
The eyeball will appear smaller than normal for the breed. Signs of visual impairment will also be noticed.

What are the risks?
Many dogs and cats become visually impaired or completely blind.

What is the management?
There is no treatment and affected individuals should not be bred.