Help! Two of my geckos have their eyes closed shut, when they open them their eyes are sunken in and their pupil is

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Customer: Help! Two of my geckos have their eyes closed shut, when they open them their eyes are sunken in and their pupil is offset like their pupil is down in its socket. I just recently cleaned their cage and then I noticed this happening.
Answered by Anna in 46 mins 13 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,022 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

What substrate do you use on the cage floor?

How many geckos do you have? Are the others OK?

What temperature do you maintain in the cage?

Have these geckos been eating well? Passing normal droppings?

What do you feed them?

Do they have a moist hide box?

Thank you.


Substrate I use repti sand
I have three geckos one of a different species its a banded gecko I found
she seems to be doing ok she was the first to have the closed eyes but it passed
I keep the temperature at 87~92 degrees F
no they do not have a moist hide box because they had feces in the cage and i thought that would not be good cause i was thinking that the moisture would get into the feces and bacteria would grow and I was also thinking that this is what caused this problem in the first place.I feed the geckos mealworms and crickets, also the geckos are leopard geckos.
Oh and i know you would recomend going to a herp vet but the only place that would have one is actually in the process of hiring a new one.
Thank you for getting back to me. Give your geckos a special soak. Buy some Pedialyte (made for human infants and available in discount stores and pharmacies). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 Pedialyte and 1/2 warm water. Soak the geckos for 20 to 30 minutes. Supervise closely - you'll probably need to bathe one at a time to keep them in the water. Repeat the soaks twice a day.

Several times a day, put into each eye a few drops of preservative-free saline solution (the kind made for contact lenses).

The pet store sand substrate is not good. Despite the fact that it is highly recommended, more often than not, it leads to impaction, and is the most common cause of eye infections and problems. A solid substrate, such as reptile carpet or ceramic tile, is best. I would replace the sand with a solid substrate, or even paper towels at once. If you’d like to see the results of using sand with lizards, you can take a look at the following site. The photos are graphic, so if such things bother you, you may not want to look. calci sand

Your tank is a bit warm. The temperature gradient in the tank should be 82*F to 88*F day and night.It's good for them to have a cooler area if they want it. Moist hide boxes are important for geckos. Feces should be removed often because they will provide a place for bacteria to grow whether you have a moist hide box or not.

Of course, seeing a vet is the best option. There may be others in your area you don't know about. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

Also, it's possible for a local vet to work by phone consultation with a reptile vet. I’m also sending along a care sheet, courtesy of Joan, another of our experts. You can use it as a checklist to make sure all the conditions are right. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your grandson’s gecko will reach a full recovery.


Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

The Leopard Gecko is originally from Pakistan, India, and a few other countries in Asia. They actually live on hard rocky outcrops and they are nocturnal (active at night). They prefer temperatures between 82 and 88 degrees all day and night. They grow to between 8 to 11 inches. Leopard Geckos are available in a wide range of colors and patterns which are the result of selective captive breeding. These include albino, ghost, striped, jungle, Leucistic and high yellow. These colors have been made possible through selective captive breeding. Leopard Geckos make wonderful pets for almost any age person. Leopard Geckos also make good long term pets. They can live over twenty years. Never grab by tail it will break off.

Leopard Gecko Housing: A male Leopard Gecko should never be housed in the same cage as another male leopard gecko because they will fight and possibly kill one another. A male can be housed with several females without any problems. I do not advise housing leopard geckos in the same cage with any other reptiles. A single Leopard Gecko can be kept in a ten gallon tank. For a male and a few females a twenty gallon tank or larger should be used. The cage should have a screen lid on top of it to prevent any escapes. Leopard geckos need places to hide and sleep during the day so you must provide a couple of hiding spots. They need a warm hiding spot and a cold humid hiding spot. Just put one hide box on the side with the heat light and put the humid hide box on the side that does not have the heat light. I actually prefer an under the tank heater for heat source rather than a light since the geckos are Nocturnal. For the humid hide box, Paper Towels work well and easily replaced inside a hide box. You can make your own humid hide box from a small plastic shoe box or from a margarine conatiner. Cut a hole in one end of the container and place moist paper towel inside it. The humid box should be cleaned out every week and re moistened. A humid hide box is needed so that the gecko can go in it when it needs to shed. The humidity helps the old skin come off.

Substrate: There is an abundance of products on the market that claim to be safe substrates. All Loose Substrates (Please note the link above) however are not safe to use. A substrate is what you put on the bottom of the cage for the lizard to walk around on. If a Leopard Gecko ingests any of the substrate accidentally, the substrate must pass through the digestive system. Trust me they will ingest substrate, sometimes on purpose. If it does not easily pass through the digestive system compaction will occur. Compaction is an extreme blockage of the digestive tract and is often fatal. Some substrates that I consider unsafe because they can cause compaction are: sand, bark, Calci sand, crushed walnut shells, lizard litter, gravel, aquarium gravel, and coconut fiber. The safest substrate is using paper towels or plain newspaper, non-stick shelf liner , cage carpet or ceramic tile. For any leopard geckos that are younger than six months I advise using paper towels or plain newspaper until they are at least six months old. Calcium sand is not fully digested no matter what it claims. The stuff just does not break down completely. . Leopard

Gecko Heating and Temperature: The cage should be between 82 to 88 degrees all day and night. There is two basic ways to heat the cage. One is to use a under tank heater like heat tape. The other is to use a black, or blue night incandescent heat light. I prefer to use a heat light. For a 10 gallon tank a 60 watt bulb should work depending on room temperature. Place the heat light on one end of the cage. By putting the heat light on one end of the cage it keeps that side warmest and allows the gecko to move to the warmer side with the light or to the colder side without the light as needed to regulate body temperature.

NEVER EVER USE A HOT ROCK, HEAT ROCK, OR ANY SIMILAR PRODUCT. Hot rocks heat unevenly and are notorious for causing terrible thermal burns. Do not buy a hot rock and if you know anyone who uses one, tell them to throw it away.

Leopard Gecko Feeding: Leopard Geckos will do very well on a diet of mealworms and crickets. I like to provide some variety in feeder insects to create a more balanced diet. Feeder insects I use are silkworms, mealworms, roaches and crickets with the legs on one side of the body pulled off. Crickets will bite your geckos while they sleep, these bites are prone to infection, so if you pull off one side of their legs then they cannot move around the cage and get to the gecko and also this prevents the crickets from climbing out of the cage. Gut load feeder insects for at least a day before putting them in with the gecko. Feed geckos insects that are not larger than the width of the head of the gecko.
Adults can be fed superworms, though I advise only feeding a couple superworms at a time. Leopard Gecko Vitamin/Mineral Supplement: For young geckos dust the feeder insects every other feeding or place a small feeder dish with supplement in it and some mealworms in the cage. For adults and babies place a shallow dish or a plastic lid in the cage with a teaspoon of calcium powder on it. The gecko will lick the calcium powder as needed. You still need to dust feeder insects every other feeding though with a vitamin supplement for young geckos. Adults use vitamin supplement once a week. Leopard Gecko Water: Use a shallow water bowl, fill with water as needed. Remove bowl from cage and clean out weekly.

Do Not Feed Pinkies

Thanks alot Anna this is the second time you answered my only two questions and am verry happy with the answers
You're welcome, and I'm glad you're happy with the information you received. Good luck with the geckos!

graphic I'm in trouble... sand impaction?
It's difficult to tell for sure, but here's what you can try. Prepare a bath with Pedialyte as I described above, but this time, after 10 minutes -and with the gecko still in the water - gently massage its underside from front to vent for 10 minutes. Sometimes that is enough to help them pass some droppings. Repeat this twice a day. If there's sand impaction, you should see some sand in the droppings.

If the gecko is eating, give it food that has been dipped in cooking oil, such as olive oil or corn oil.

If these methods don't work to help the gecko eliminate, it will probably die without veterinary intervention. I hope you'll be successful so that won't be necessary.

alright one more question my other (male) leopard gecko seems to be scratching his head quite a bit you think the pedialyte will work for this? oh and i got the free saline solution and wow as soon as i put them in his eyes, they were open! ok but the other younger female has more of a shed problem in her eye it looks Bad i dont want to hurt her so you think i should just keep puting eye drops in hier eye until the shed (wich looks yellow ) becomes moist? cause her eye is just bad it looks really dry so i think her eye would be really dry and hurt alot more if i were to remove it than it would moist.
sorry about my writing too i never shoulda dropped out..
anyway oh and if you could really help me out on this one i will give you another $10.00
i bought something called repta aid emergency care formula for insectivore/carnivore and i was confused with how much exactly to give them
It comes with a package of powder and a syringe i was just wondering how much i should give my female gecko if she weighs 5 grams
First of all, don't worry about your writing - I've seen much worse. What you're saying is quite clear, and that is what counts.

According to the Fluker's web site, based on average weights, an adult gecko should get 2.1 cc. of the mixed solution. It should be split into 3 feedings. To mix the solution, you would add 6 of the spoonfuls (came with the remedy) with 3 cc. of lukewarm water. There should be a syringe also included. This particualr remedy has a wide safety margin, so if you accidentally give a little too much, no harm is done.

Now for the retained eye cap. Don't put the drops in that eye. Eyecaps actually come off easier if they are dry. Instead use a Q-tip to gently place a drop of mineral oil on the eyecap. Leave it over night. In the morning, try VERY GENTLY brushing your finger across the eye. That may cause the eye cap to move partially off the eye. If you can get an edge to come off, you can just take hold of it and remove it. You can also wrap some tape around your fingers, and again, very gently, barely touch the eye cap. Never use tweezers or other instruments to try to remove the cap: it's too easy to damage the eye.

If none of the above tips work to remove the eye cap, it would be best to see a vet for help. Here is a page where you can read more about retained eye caps:

Hope this helps.

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