Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme for dogs

The Eye Scheme is run in partnership with the BVA, the Kennel Club and the International Sheep Dog Society.  

The Eye Scheme was established in 1966 as a means if identifying inherited and non-inherited eye conditions in dogs. It is a clinical eye examination carried out by expert veterinary surgeons. The Scheme is open to all dogs and breeds including crossbreeds and non-Kennel Club registered dogs.

What is hereditary eye disease?

There are many types of hereditary eye disease, both congenital (conditions that exist from birth or soon after birth) and non-congenital (conditions that develop later in life), that affect dogs. Many of these conditions can have serious effects on health and welfare, causing pain, blindness, or the need for lifelong medication, and should be taken into consideration when breeding dogs.

The scheme is open to all dogs and breeds including crossbreeds and non-Kennel Club registered dogs.

What is hereditary eye disease?   Image

Eye diseases in dogs

We currently screen for the following inherited eye diseases:

Congenital/Neonatal eye conditions (inherited conditions present at birth):

  • (CEA) Collie eye anomaly
  • (MRD) Multifocal retinal dysplasia
  • (TRD) Total retinal dysplasia
  • (CHC) Congenital hereditary cataract
  • (PHPV) Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous
  • (PLA) Pectinate ligament abnormality


Inherited conditions that develop later in life:

  • (HC) Hereditary cataract
  • (PLL) Primary lens luxation
  • (POAG) Primary open angle glaucoma
  • (PRA) Progressive retinal atrophy
  • (RPED) Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy

Other eye conditions which may be identified during the examination include:

  • Distichiasis
  • Ectopic cilia
  • Trichiasis
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Combined entropion/ectropion
  • Corneal lipid deposition
  • Ocular Melanosis
  • Persistent pupillary membrane
  • Various lens conditions
  • Various retinal conditions 
  • Optic nerve hypoplasia
  • Multi-ocular defects

There are two types of inherited glaucoma, Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma (PCAG/PACG) and Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG). The examination for PCAG/PACG is called gonioscopy and if you wish to have this completed, please make the request when booking your appointment. Gonioscopy is not required for the diagnosis of POAG.

CHS offers litter screening for congenital hereditary conditions such as collie eye anomaly and multifocal retinal dysplasia, when the puppies are 5 to 12 weeks old.

 DNA tests are available for some inherited diseases and their complimentary use with routine clinical examination gives you a complete overview your dogs’ eye health.

Why should we check the eyes of older dogs?

What are the signs?

The signs of eye disease vary depending on the specific condition and between individual dogs and breeds. Some visible signs may include:

  • Redness
  • Dilated pupil
  • Discharge
  • Cloudy appearance

For more information on primary glaucoma please read our Primary glaucoma for owners leaflet.

It is important to discuss any concerns with your vet.

How to treat it?

Treatment will depend the disease itself. It is important to remember that even dogs with severe eye conditions usually adapt well to life with reduced vision. If you have any queries, speak to your local vet.

Which breeds are commonly at risk? Image

Which breeds are commonly at risk?

All dogs, including crossbreeds are at risk of suffering from eye disease. Common breeds at risk are:

  • Border Collie
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labradoodle
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Pug

Many other breeds suffer from eye disease, visit the Kennel Club Breed Information Centre for further information.

See eye examination results by breed for 2018.

Our Scrutineers and Panellists

To ensure the highest standards, expert veterinary surgeons appointed by BVA are responsible for scoring and grading all our hip, elbow and CM/SM submissions. All our Eye Panellists who perform the clinical examinations are specialists in ophthalmology. 

Expert vet panel

Got a question about the scheme?

To contact the CHS team, email [email protected]

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