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.
I am sorry to hear that your leopard gecko Chevy is having a problem with her eye.
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There are a number of reasons that a lizard 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.
Systemic diseases that cause lethargy or depression (such as metabolic bone disease, systemic infections, GI impaction, respiratory infection, or problems with liver or kidney function) can also cause the eyes to close.
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 leopard gecko several times a day or soaking him in a warm (90F) bath for 15-30 minutes might help.
-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 once 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 30-40% range.
-Make sure the UVB bulb you have is appropriate for reptiles and 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 leopard gecko’s enclosure is clean and well-maintained. A dusty or dirty enclosure can be irritating to their eyes.
Things to try at home:
First a saline eye wash, Good options include Fluker’s Repta Rinse Reptile Eye Wash or the human equivalent Bausch and Lomb Advanced Eye Relief. These are saline solutions plus some antiseptics (boric acid and/or benzalkonium chloride) and lubricants. Flush the eye copiously but gently at least 2 to 4 times daily. You can gently tip the affected side downward a few degrees while you flush to discourage any wash from getting into his mouth or nose.
If the eye is irritated but there are no obvious signs of wounds (cuts, punctures or flaps) to the eyeball itself, after rinsing you can apply some lubricating ointment, like Systane Nighttime Lubricant Eye Ointment or GenTeal Night-Time Lubricant Eye Ointment. They are available over the counter at stores such as Walgreens, Walmart, Rite-Aid, etc. They are not medicated, they contain lubricants and lanolin. They will help protect the eye and keep it moist until you can get an evaluation by a veterinarian.
DO NOT use any medicated eye products for people, like Visine, etc., these can be toxic to turtles.
If you notice some chunks of discharge on the eye or eyelid surface you can take a cotton tipped applicator (q-tip) and gently roll it along the eye's surface to help remove the discharge. Don't wipe the eye and don't poke with the q-tip. Use a gentle rolling motion to help collect up debris.
Because similar signs can be caused by many different causes, for eye problems that persist, recur or cause discomfort to your pet or occur in concert with other signs such as loss of appetite, weakness or lethargy, breathing difficulties, etc., an evaluation by a veterinarian experienced with reptiles is recommended. The veterinarian will examine your lizard 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.
If you need to find a local veterinarian with reptile experience, here is a useful website you can use to search for a local reptile veterinarian:
(please note this site may not work on older browsers like Safari)
These veterinarians are active members of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, which means they have interest and experience in treating reptile patients.
If you need assistance in your search, I am happy to help. If so, please provide your zip code.
I should be notified if/when you respond with additional information so we can connect about your leopard gecko Chevy but, in the meantime, I hope this information is helpful and I wish you both the best. Thanks again for posting your question to JustAnswer.com. Sincerely, ***** *****
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