PRIMARY GLAUCOMA (not caused by trauma or other eye diseases) may be an inherited immune-related disease, which causes intense pain as fluid pressure within the eye increases, leading to blindness. Dogs affected have runny eyes and excessive squinting. Daily eye drops to reduce pressure may be effective however in extreme cases removal of one or both eyes is necessary. These dogs should never be used for breeding.
ENTROPION & ECTROPION Eyelids that roll inwards (entropion) allow lashes to scratch across the cornea resulting in pain, intermittent infection and unrepairable damage to the cornea. They can affect one or both eyes top or bottom lids. Bottom eyelids that turn outwards (ectropion) are more commonly seen in dogs with loose facial skin such as hounds St. Bernardís, Mastiffs, Shar-Peiís etc. Ectropion exposes the soft eye tissue to irritations and infections and causes the dog discomfort and pain. These are hereditary diseases that if left untreated will ultimately cause blindness. Both entropion and ectropion can be corrected with surgery.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA) This genetic problem is increasing in the Akita as well as many other breeds. PRA is a degeneration of the sensory retinal cells that line the back of the eyeball. This usually effects dogs in their prime (about 5 years) and can be either gradual or progressive but always ends in blindness. To date there is no treatment or cure.
MICROPHTHALMIA More commonly known as "Small Eye Syndrome" it is now seen in the Akita as well as many other breeds. Usually evident in puppies from 3 weeks of age the effected puppy will have unusually small cloudy eyes and will appear to lack normal visual activity. These puppies will be unresponsive to light and hold their heads down low moving slowly and with caution. In Akitas, cataracts often accompany microphthalmia. This is an inherited recessive trait and siblings and parents of effected pups should never be used for breeding as they have a 60% chance of being a carrier of this gene. There is no cure.