Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Bearded dragons are fascinating reptiles that make popular pets due to their unique appearance and relatively low maintenance. However, like any living creature, bearded dragons can experience health issues from time to time. One common problem that beardie owners may encounter is swollen eyes.

The causes of swollen eyes in bearded dragons can vary, but they often indicate an underlying health issue. Infections, injuries, and allergies are some of the possible culprits. If you notice your bearded dragon with swollen eyes, it’s essential to take action promptly to ensure their well-being.

Recognizing the symptoms of swollen eyes is crucial in addressing the problem. Along with visible swelling, bearded dragons may also display redness, discharge, squinting, or excessive tearing. If your dragon is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s best to consult a veterinarian experienced in reptile care.

The treatment for bearded dragon swollen eyes will depend on the cause of the swelling. In some cases, simple home remedies such as warm compresses or gentle cleaning can provide relief. However, if the issue persists or worsens, a vet may need to prescribe medication or perform further examinations to determine the underlying cause.

What Causes Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes?

  • Infection: Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections can lead to swelling and inflammation of the eyes. These infections can occur due to poor hygiene, inadequate housing conditions, or exposure to other sick reptiles.
  • Injury: Trauma to the head or eyes can result in swelling and discomfort. This can happen if the bearded dragon accidentally bumps into objects in its enclosure or during handling.
  • Allergic reactions: Bearded dragons can develop allergies to certain foods, substrates, or environmental factors. Allergic reactions can manifest as swelling and redness of the eyes.
  • Foreign bodies: If a foreign object, such as a piece of substrate or debris, enters the eye of a bearded dragon, it can cause irritation and swelling.
  • Eye infections: Bearded dragons are prone to eye infections, such as conjunctivitis or keratitis. These infections can cause the eyes to become red, swollen, and watery.
  • Systemic diseases: Certain systemic diseases, such as metabolic disorders or organ dysfunction, can also lead to eye swelling in bearded dragons.

It is essential to properly assess the symptoms and consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of swollen eyes in bearded dragons. Treatment will largely depend on the specific cause identified.

Common Symptoms of Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

One of the most obvious signs of swollen eyes in bearded dragons is the appearance of puffiness and redness around the eye area. The eyes may also appear watery and inflamed. In some cases, the eyelids may be stuck together or have a crusty discharge.

Another symptom of swollen eyes in bearded dragons is decreased visibility. The swelling can impair their vision, causing them to have difficulty seeing their surroundings or locating their food. This can lead to further stress and anxiety for the reptile.


– Puffiness and redness around the eyes

– Watery and inflamed eyes

– Stuck eyelids or crusty discharge

– Lethargy and loss of appetite

– Rubbing or scratching at the eyes

– Decreased visibility

How to Diagnose Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

  1. Observe the Dragon: Carefully observe the bearded dragon for any signs of discomfort or distress. Examine their eyes closely and note if there is any redness, discharge, or abnormal swelling. Swollen eyes can be a symptom of infections, injuries, or underlying health conditions.
  2. Check the Environment: Environmental factors such as inadequate lighting, high humidity, or poor ventilation can contribute to eye problems in bearded dragons. Ensure that the dragon’s habitat meets the necessary requirements for temperature, humidity, and lighting.
  3. Examine the Diet: Inadequate nutrition or improper diet can also lead to eye issues in bearded dragons. Check if the dragon is receiving a balanced diet that includes a variety of prey and vegetables. Consult a reptile veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet for your dragon.
  4. Consult a Veterinarian: If the swollen eyes persist or worsen, it is crucial to seek professional help from a reptile veterinarian. They will be able to conduct a thorough examination and perform diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of the eye swelling. The veterinarian may perform a physical examination, take swabs for laboratory analysis, or conduct imaging tests if necessary.
  5. Follow the Veterinarian’s Advice: After the diagnosis, the veterinarian will provide the appropriate treatment plan for your bearded dragon. This may include medications, topical treatments, or changes to the dragon’s habitat or diet. It is essential to closely follow the veterinarian’s instructions and administer any prescribed medications as directed.

By carefully observing the dragon, ensuring a suitable environment and diet, consulting a veterinarian, and following their advice, bearded dragon owners can effectively diagnose the cause of swollen eyes and provide the necessary treatment. Early intervention is key to ensuring the health and well-being of these unique reptiles.

Is Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes Contagious?

One of the most common concerns among bearded dragon owners is whether swollen eyes in bearded dragons are contagious. This is an important question, as it can determine how you should handle the situation and prevent the spread of any potential infection to other dragons.

Fortunately, bearded dragon swollen eyes are typically not contagious. In most cases, swollen eyes are a result of an underlying health issue or injury specific to the individual dragon. These issues can include infections, allergies, trauma, or foreign objects in the eye.

Additionally, isolating the affected dragon from others until the underlying cause of the swollen eyes is determined can prevent potential contagion. This will also help to minimize stress on the affected dragon, as well as prevent any further injuries or complications.

If you have multiple dragons and notice swollen eyes in one of them, it’s recommended to closely monitor all the dragons for any signs of similar symptoms. Regular health check-ups and inspections can help ensure the early detection of any potential issues and prevent the spread of contagious infections.

Overall, while bearded dragon swollen eyes are typically not contagious, it is crucial to properly diagnose the underlying cause and take appropriate preventative measures to safeguard the health of your dragons.

Preventive Measures for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

Provide a clean and sanitary habitat

One of the most important preventive measures is to maintain a clean and sanitary habitat for your bearded dragon. Regularly clean the enclosure, remove any feces or uneaten food, and disinfect the tank to prevent the buildup of bacteria or parasites that can lead to eye infections and inflammation. Additionally, make sure to provide fresh, clean water for your bearded dragon to drink.

Ensure proper humidity and temperature levels

Bearded dragons require a specific range of humidity and temperature to thrive. Incorrect levels of humidity or temperature can cause eye irritation and lead to swollen eyes. Monitor the humidity and temperature in the enclosure regularly and make any necessary adjustments to ensure they are within the appropriate range for your bearded dragon’s species.

Dust feeders with calcium and vitamins

Bearded dragons require a balanced diet to maintain good overall health, including eye health. Dusting their feeders with calcium and vitamins can help prevent nutrient deficiencies that can contribute to eye problems. Consult with a veterinarian or reptile specialist to determine the appropriate frequency and amount of calcium and vitamin supplementation for your bearded dragon.

Avoid inadequate lighting

Proper lighting is essential for the well-being of bearded dragons. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and discomfort, leading to swollen eyes. Ensure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure has appropriate UVB lighting to mimic natural sunlight and provide an optimal environment for your pet.

Handle your bearded dragon with care

When handling your bearded dragon, make sure to do so gently and avoid any rough or excessive handling that can cause eye injuries. Be careful when introducing new items to the enclosure to prevent accidental eye trauma.

First Aid for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

  • Gently clean the area around the eyes with a moist cotton pad or a clean, damp cloth. This will help remove any debris or irritants that may be causing the swelling.
  • Make sure the enclosure or habitat of your bearded dragon is clean and free from any potential sources of infection. Regularly clean the tank, replace the bedding, and ensure proper hygiene to minimize the risk of eye infections.
  • Adjust the temperature and humidity inside the enclosure. Extreme temperatures or low humidity levels can contribute to eye irritation and swelling. Maintain the appropriate temperature and humidity levels to promote overall health and prevent eye problems.
  • Offer your bearded dragon plenty of fresh water to drink. Dehydration can worsen eye swelling and other health issues. Ensure that your pet has access to clean water at all times to stay hydrated.
  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet for your bearded dragon. A proper diet rich in vitamins and minerals can support their immune system and overall health, reducing the risk of eye problems.
  • Avoid handling your bearded dragon excessively while their eyes are swollen. Rest and minimal stress can aid in the healing process. Give your pet some time to rest and minimize any unnecessary handling.
  • If the swelling does not improve within a few days or if it worsens, consult a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. A vet can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary.

Remember, first aid measures are only meant to provide temporary relief and should not replace veterinary care. It is always important to consult a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any health issues your bearded dragon may be experiencing.

Home Remedies for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

1. Soaking

One of the most common home remedies for bearded dragon swollen eyes is soaking. Fill a shallow container with warm water and gently place your bearded dragon in it, making sure the water level does not exceed its shoulders. Allow the dragon to soak for 10-15 minutes, as it can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

2. Saline Solution

Another remedy you can try is using a saline solution. Prepare a saline solution by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with one cup of distilled water. Apply a few drops of the solution onto a clean cloth or cotton pad and gently wipe the affected eye. This can help clean the eye and reduce any irritation or swelling.

3. Eye Drops

You can also try using over-the-counter eye drops that are safe for reptiles. Make sure to choose eye drops that do not contain any preservatives or additives. Apply a drop or two of the eye drops directly into the affected eye, following the instructions on the packaging. This can help soothe the eye and reduce inflammation.

4. Adjusting the Environment

Swollen eyes in bearded dragons can be caused by dry air or inadequate humidity levels in their enclosure. Make sure that the humidity levels in the enclosure are within the appropriate range for bearded dragons (30-40%). You can achieve this by using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity and adding a humidifier or misting the enclosure with water as needed.

5. Soft Diet

In some cases, swollen eyes may be a result of injury or a foreign object stuck in the eye. To promote healing and minimize further irritation, you can offer your bearded dragon a soft diet temporarily. This can include mashed vegetables, baby food, or commercially available reptile soft diets. Avoid feeding any hard or crunchy foods that may cause further discomfort or injury.

Medications for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

  • Antibiotics: In cases where bacterial infections are the cause of swollen eyes, antibiotics may be prescribed to combat the infection. These medications can be administered orally or through injections, depending on the severity of the infection.
  • Antifungal Medications: If a fungal infection is suspected, antifungal medications may be recommended. These medications can help in eradicating the fungus and reducing the swelling in the affected area.
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Swollen eyes can often be accompanied by inflammation. In such cases, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, may be prescribed to reduce the swelling and alleviate any pain or discomfort.
  • Eye Drops or Ointments: Depending on the specific condition, veterinarians may prescribe eye drops or ointments containing antibiotics, antifungal agents, or corticosteroids. These topical medications can be applied directly to the eyes to provide localized treatment.
  • Vitamin A Supplements: In some cases, swollen eyes may be a result of a deficiency in vitamin A. In such situations, veterinarians may recommend vitamin A supplements to address the deficiency and promote healing.

Alternative Treatments for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

1. Warm Compress:

Applying a warm compress to the swollen eye can help to reduce inflammation and promote drainage of any build-up or infection. To do this, soak a clean cloth in warm water and wring out the excess. Gently place the warm cloth on the affected eye for several minutes, making sure to avoid applying too much pressure.

2. Saline Solution:

A saline solution can be used to clean the bearded dragon’s eyes and help reduce irritation. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with 8 ounces of sterile water. Use a clean syringe or dropper to gently flush the eye with the saline solution. Repeat this process a few times a day to keep the eye clean and promote healing.

3. Chamomile Tea Soak:

Chamomile tea has soothing properties that can help to reduce swelling and promote healing. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and allow it to cool. Use a clean cloth to soak up some of the tea and gently apply it to the bearded dragon’s swollen eye. The chamomile tea can help to soothe the eye and reduce inflammation.

4. Aloe Vera Gel:

Aloe vera gel is known for its healing properties and can be used topically on swollen eyes. Make sure to use a pure and natural form of aloe vera gel. Apply a small amount of the gel to the swollen eye and gently massage it in. The aloe vera gel can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

5. Adjusting the Habitat:

In some cases, swollen eyes in bearded dragons can be caused by environmental factors. Make sure the temperature and humidity levels in the habitat are appropriate for the bearded dragon. Ensure that the enclosure is clean and free of any irritants or allergens that could be causing the eye swelling.

These alternative treatments can be used alongside any prescribed medications or veterinary treatments. However, it is essential to consult with a reptile veterinarian before trying any alternative treatments to ensure they are appropriate for your bearded dragon and their specific condition.

When to Seek Veterinary Help for Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

1. Persistent or Worsening Symptoms

If your bearded dragon’s swollen eyes do not show any improvement after a few days of home treatment or if the condition seems to be getting worse, it is best to consult a veterinarian. Persistent or worsening symptoms may indicate an underlying infection or other serious health issues that require professional intervention.

2. Other Associated Symptoms

If your bearded dragon displays other concerning symptoms along with swollen eyes, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, discharge from the eyes, or difficulty breathing, it is necessary to seek veterinary help immediately. These symptoms could indicate a more severe infection or respiratory problem that requires prompt medical attention.

3. Recurring Swollen Eyes

3. Recurring Swollen Eyes

If your bearded dragon experiences recurring swollen eyes, even after proper treatment and preventive measures have been taken, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. This could be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.

4. Uncertainty or Inexperience

If you are unsure about how to properly treat your bearded dragon’s swollen eyes or lack experience in handling reptile health issues, it is always recommended to consult a veterinarian. They can provide guidance, diagnosis, and prescribe appropriate medications or treatments to ensure your bearded dragon’s recovery.

5. Proactive Approach

Lastly, if you are proactive about your bearded dragon’s health and well-being and want to take a cautious approach, consulting a veterinarian for any instance of swollen eyes can provide peace of mind. A professional evaluation can rule out any potential issues and offer the best course of action for your pet’s specific condition.

Remember, the health and care of your bearded dragon should always be a top priority, and seeking veterinary help when necessary ensures the best possible outcome for your beloved reptile companion.

Common Myths about Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

Myth Reality
Myth: Swollen eyes in bearded dragons are normal and do not require treatment. Reality: Swollen eyes in bearded dragons are not normal and could indicate an underlying health problem. It is crucial to identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment.
Myth: Bearded dragon swollen eyes can be cured with home remedies alone. Reality: While home remedies can provide temporary relief, they may not address the underlying cause of swollen eyes. It is essential to seek veterinary help for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Myth: If one bearded dragon in a tank has swollen eyes, all the other dragons will also develop the same condition. Reality: Bearded dragon swollen eyes are not contagious by nature. However, certain environmental factors or infections can affect multiple dragons in the same tank. It is crucial to maintain proper hygiene and provide individual care if needed.
Myth: Bearded dragons with swollen eyes can be cured with over-the-counter medications. Reality: Over-the-counter medications may not be suitable for treating bearded dragon swollen eyes. The dosage and specific medication required will depend on the underlying cause, which can only be determined by a veterinarian.
Myth: Bearded dragons with swollen eyes will always experience complications. Reality: While bearded dragon swollen eyes can lead to complications if left untreated, early diagnosis and proper treatment can often resolve the issue without any long-term effects. Regular veterinary check-ups and proactive care can prevent complications.


Possible Complications of Bearded Dragon Swollen Eyes

Bearded dragon swollen eyes can lead to several complications if left untreated or not properly managed. It is essential for reptile owners to be aware of these potential complications in order to provide the best care for their bearded dragons.

1. Secondary Infections

One of the most common complications of bearded dragon swollen eyes is the development of secondary infections. The swelling and inflammation of the eyes provide a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. If left untreated, these infections can spread to other parts of the bearded dragon’s body and lead to more serious health issues.

2. Vision Impairment

Swollen eyes can significantly impair a bearded dragon’s vision. The swelling can obstruct their field of view and make it difficult for them to see and navigate their surroundings. This can cause stress and anxiety for the reptile and may affect their overall behavior and well-being.

3. Reduced Appetite

Bearded dragons with swollen eyes may experience a reduced appetite. The discomfort and pain associated with swollen eyes can make it difficult for them to eat and drink properly. This can lead to malnutrition and weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to other health issues.

4. Respiratory Problems

In some cases, bearded dragon swollen eyes can be a symptom of underlying respiratory problems. The inflammation and infection can spread to the nasal passages and respiratory system, causing difficulties in breathing. This can lead to respiratory distress and other respiratory complications.

5. Chronic Eye Problems

If a bearded dragon experiences recurrent or chronic swollen eyes, it may indicate an underlying eye condition such as chronic conjunctivitis or dry eye syndrome. These conditions can be challenging to manage and may require long-term treatment and care.