Unlike you and I the dog has a third eyelid. Cherry eye is the herniation of the gland behind this third eyelid. This herniated gland will hang out of the corner of the eye appearing like a large cherry, thus called a cherry eye.
Bulldogs in general have a genetic weakness of this glands normal attachments. Usually this condition occurs in pups from 8-16 weeks of age. Often times if a Bulldog has a cherry eye, within a few months, the second eye will likely become affected.
Recent studies show that this gland is responsible for producing 20-30% of the tear volume to the eye. Therefore removal of the gland is not recommended. Many vets argue that Bulldogs have dry eyes by nature and they will remove the gland in its entirety and see no future problems in doing so. I personally do not recommend removal. BigBulldogs.com believes the gland serves a function and should be repositioned to its original location. It is a very simple procedure and can be done very quickly with few complications. Cherry eye has a recurrence rate of less than 10% when done by an experienced vet.
It looks much worse than it is and contrary to what you think, he is not in pain. They can develope them with no warning. If your Bully develops a cherry eye, you may be able to push it back in temporarily. Normally it will reappear within a short period of time, so we usually recommend having them repaired. It is not an emergency so you do not need to rush him in and pay emergency bills. However our advice is to get him in within a week so no further damage may occur.
If your vet chooses to snip instead of tuck, don’t get too wigged out. Remember that many Bulldogs who have both of these glands in tact and never had a cherry eye, often develope a blockage resulting in dry eye. I guess it’s just a Bully Thang.