I have a male Veiled chameleon, around 7 months old. He recently started closing his right eye and eats less than usual.

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Customer: Hi there, I have a male Veiled chameleon, around 7 months old. He recently started closing his right eye and eats less than usual. There’s no sign of physical damage but he keeps trying to clean the eye and it’s been a couple of days that the issue is continuing.
JA: Hi there. I'll do all I can to help. A lack of appetite can seem worrying. Does the chameleon also seem more tired than usual?
Customer: No
JA: Does the chameleon seem to be in any pain?
Customer: no
JA: What's the chameleon's name and age?
Customer: Atria and 6-7 months old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no.
Answered by Dr. Caryn – Vet in 10 mins 1 year ago
Dr. Caryn – Vet
Pet Specialist

2,204 satisfied customers

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

Here’s a photo

Hello and thanks for posting your question on JustAnswer.com. My name is***** and I have been a veterinarian for over 21 years, specializing in aquatics, reptiles, amphibians, avian and other exotic species. You may already be aware, but on this platform veterinarians can provide insight and advice, but as this is not considered a legal client-patient relationship, we are unable to prescribe medications, provide medical records or sign documents for your specific pet. For that you would need to make an in person visit with a local veterinarian. I am happy to chat with you via text but if you are interested in a phone call instead that is an option you can choose for an additional charge. In the meantime, I am putting together some questions and/or suggestions to help with your pet’s concern.

Perfect thank you!

I am sorry to hear that your veiled chameleon Atria is having some eye issues.

There are a number of reasons that a chameleon might develop an eye problem, such as swelling, crusting, discoloration or keeping one or both eyes closed.

Causes might include trauma (bite or scratch from a tankmate, scratched cornea), foreign body (like dirt or sand) on the eye or under the lid, infection with parasites, bacteria, viruses, or mites, nutritional deficiency (Vitamins A or D), neoplasia (cancer), environmental problems (humidity too high or low, irritants in environment from waste or toxins, dehydration or difficulty shedding skin around eyes. Although the ear, mouth and eye are different anatomical structures, the proximity of the eye to either means that a problem inside the ear or mouth, such as an abscess, can sometimes cause the eye to protrude outwards and appear swollen.

-If it is caused by incomplete shed or dehydration, then misting your chameleon several times a day might help.

-Although more common in other types of reptiles, mites can infect chameleons. Mites will appear as brown, black or red dots on the skin and you may see white dots (eggs) as well.

-Scratches to the corneal can be painful and they will keep the eye closed due to discomfort. Infections can also cause the eye to close. If the eye is closed or crusted you can try to gently irrigate the eye with saline eyewash sold at a pharmacy (over-the-counter). Make sure it is just saline and not a medicated eye drop.

-Nutritional deficits such as hypovitaminosis A (too little vitamin A in the diet) can lead to changes in the tissue lining the eye causing swelling and eye closure. Feeding a balanced diet is important and supplementing a couple times a week with a multivitamin powder (usually mixed with calcium) that has vitamins A and D3 is recommended.

-Double check the tank humidity to ensure it is in the ideal range.

-Make sure the UVB bulb you have is appropriate for the enclosure size and depth. If the bulb is too strong, it may cause discomfort or even burning leading to closed eyes.

-Lastly make sure the chameleon’s enclosure is clean and well-maintained. A dusty or dirty enclosure can be irritating to their eyes.

Because similar signs can be caused by many different causes, for eye problems that persist, recur or cause discomfort to your pet, an ocular evaluation by a veterinarian experienced with reptiles is recommended. The veterinarian will examine your chameleon to find the source of the problem by looking in the mouth, nares (nostrils) and at the eye and ear. They will do a thorough eye exam with a special hand-held magnifying tool, an ophthalmoscope, and may also place a special stain into the animal’s eye to look for signs of damage to the cornea. They may need to do additional diagnostics like imaging or bloodwork. Treatment will depend upon what is found from examination and diagnostics.

Thanks for the photos btw, I can see he's keeping the eye mostly closed. There's not much else I can tell from the images (other than he's very handsome and I don't see any discharge, swelling or obvious discoloration of the small bit of the eye's surface I can see).

You can try gently irrigating the affected eye with a saline only eye wash, once to twice a day for a couple days, just in case it's some dirt or other irritant causing the problem. He probably won't like it very much, though, from personal experience. Just be gentle with the wash.

Thank you! I appreciate the info. I’ll start with raising humidity and vitamin A because he probably doesn’t get enough of that. Last question however, he gets some natural sunlight coming in windows, I know windows have UV filters but I checked the UV levels and there’s actually UV coming in. I live in Arizona and the morning sun could be possibly harsh? Should I stop the natural light in case that could be the issue?
Got you! I’ll try that! Thank you!

Humidity is very important and veiled chameleons need it to be a bit humid, at least 50% (50-60% is a good range).

Are Contact lens solutions good for this purpose? I’m not sure if they’re pure saline solution.
He’s also rubbing his eye on branches and the cage

You'd need to check the bottle, some are ok, others not so much. It's ok if they have a preservative and a lubricant (most saline eye washes do) but you don't want them to have an active medication (like Visine). If you let me know your brand of contact lens solution I can look up the ingredients.

He's rubbing because it's probably itching or irritation him. So good to try the eyewash. (Though itching or irritation doesn't necessarily rule out the other potential causes of eye problems.)

Chameleons do have a higher vitamin A requirement then some other reptiles, so supplementing with a multivitamin at least twice weekly is a good idea. I also recommend gut-loading your feeder insects for 24-48hours at least before feeding them out, this will help make them more nutritious. Something like:

Mazuri Better Bug Gut Loading Diet

Mazuri Hi Calcium Gut Loading Diet

Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload Formula

Thank you! I’ve been gut loading with carrots lately when the problem started. I also tried multivitamins but he’s not eating a lot so that make sit hard. The saline solution is Acuvue RevitaLens but I can just get normal saline solution just to be safe.

Thanks for the additional info, i can look it up to see.

Carrots are good sources of vitamin A but using a gut loading formula might be better as they also are good sources of calcium and other nutrients.

That would make it a lot easier on me too because I thought veggies would be better. So I appreciate it!
However, should I still dust the insects with calcium if I use that gutload?

Yes, please. I recommend dusting every insect. Use the calcium only powder for most days and on 2 days substitute the reptile multivitamin powder (that has calcium, vitamin A and D3) for the calcium only powder.

Especially for crickets, they are not extremely nutritious.

Perfect! That’s what I do.
And when it comes to cleaning the eye should I use Q-tips to clean or just the saline?
I don’t do crickets mostly Dubia roaches.
I would just gently irrigate with the solution, no qtips.Great they are definitely better but variety is the key….
Thank you! ***** try to have variety. He likes mealworms but I know they’re not the best for digestive system. Sometimes Hornworms for hydration but that seems to make his irate very runny. Is that something to be concerned about?
Sorry I have so many questions l lol

Mealworms along with wax and silkworms or ok as occasional treats, they are high in fat....

Black soldier fly larvae (soldier worm larvae), superworms, earthworms (they'd need to be small or cut for him to eat them), Dubia and cockroaches and the occasional wax worm, mealworm or silkworms (limit them due to their high fat content).

Got you! Thank you!!
Alright! I think I’m good for now. I really appreciate your help and patience. Thank you so much!

I don't think so, as long as the urates are white and not discolored. And if the urination frequency remains high, then there could be kidney issues.

No! None of that. It’s white and just once a day

You are most welcome! Chameleons are amazing reptiles but the majority of the issues I see as a vet relates to their husabndry. Important to make sure he has a dripping source of water, they don't drink from dishes.

If the appetite depression continues, then getting him checked out by a local reptile veterinarian is a good idea. It may related to the eye, but you want to rule out an underlying condition. If you need assistance finding a reptile vet in your area, please let me know your zip code and I can search for options in your area.

For sure! I’ll definitely keep an eye on it and in a day or two if the problem continues I’ll visit the vet.
My zip code is 85254

Okay, thanks. Please give me a few minutes to search for options in your area....

Both of these practices are not far from you and each employs a number of veterinarians who are members of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) so would have reptile interest and experience:

Arizona Exotics Animal Hospital
744 N Center St, Ste 101
Mesa, Arizona 85201-5084  United States

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Avian & Exotic Animal Clinic
1911 S Lindsay Rd, Ste 101
Mesa, Arizona 85204-7103  United States
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Thank you so much!

You are most welcome! Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. My best to you and Atria. Sincerely, ***** *****

Hi Dr. Cryn,
In case you’re curious, just wanted to let you know I used the saline solution once and he blinked a bit and got whatever was in there out and he’s been good since then. Thank you again for your help!

That is awesome!! Thank you so much for the wonderful update. My best to you and Atria. Sincerely, ***** *****

Caryn* I’m sorry autocorrect….

No worries, it's an unusual spelling (could never get a personalized license plate for my bike as a kid). :-) Have a nice day!

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Dr. Caryn – Vet
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Dr. Caryn – Vet
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