Dogs normally have an upper and lower tear duct openings. These look like two little oval slits near the inside corner of the eyelids.
The lower tear duct opening is responsible for draining the tears away from the eye. If the opening has not formed than the tears will spill down the face. Whilst this condition does not harm the dog it can look unsightly. These dogs can present with tear staining down (brown line) the side of their face.
Imperforate punctum means that the tear duct opening has not developed. It is usually a condition that affects the lower tear duct openings. Sometimes it can affect one or both of the eyes. On occasion the punctal opening may be present but the opening is tiny.
If the duct opening is closed or tiny, then a surgical procedure to open it or enlarge it is an option. At Animal Eye Care this is performed under general anesthesia with the aid of an operating microscope.
There is a breed predisposition for this condition in American and English Cocker Spaniels, Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Unfortunately at this stage there is no genetic test for this condition. At the time of the breed examination the ophthalmologist routinely checks the tear duct openings and will be happy to discuss any concerns that you may have.