A Curious Eye Issue

amalthea23

New Member
Ok, so, I've now had my cham at the vet for this issue twice. Two separate vets, He's been on 3 different medications. Here's his living parameters:

Basking temp: 97-102
12 hours on, 12 off. UVB 10.0 tube bulb (not coil)
mistking every other waking hour between 1-3 minutes. In between in summer 50-60% humidity, during 100% humidity.
Calcium daily, vitamins every week. In winter, Calcium with D once weekly, in summer he's outside in a 260 gal. vivarium most days.

So, his issue is, he squints.
He'll do this whenever he's near the basking light, or in bright sun, or when the vet shines a light in his eye.
According to the vet aside from the squint he's "incredibly healthy."
Here he is at the vet, pretending he's fine:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/amalthea23/14603281261
Here he is seconds later
https://www.flickr.com/photos/amalthea23/14419957689
I had not only the exotics vet, but another vet and then an exotic animal ophthalmologist look at him. No one could find anything specifically wrong. He eats like a CHAMP, he drinks, he poops, he leaves sperm plugs all over. His breathing is perfect, the inside of his mouth is perfect. He has NO other issues except this squinting, which is more with the left eye, but sometimes with his right. My question, which I'll be asking the vet later in the week, has anyone here ever seen a cham with occular light sensitivity? He often basks with his whole body exposed to the light EXCEPT his head, which he hides under a leaf. This is the only thing I can think of. He's been checked from head to toe, and I hate needlessly poking and prodding him, but it's making me crazy that he closes his eyes in the daytime! Any ideas?
 

croastbeast

New Member
Thats not a squint, in my opinion. Thats a lethargic eye close.

Id suggest hes being overheated/overilluminated. The 10.0 bulb is a stronger UV bulb, typically made for desert type reptiles. I'd suggest going down a notch.
 

amalthea23

New Member
I was considering that. He does it outside too, but I'll give that a shot. My next step after that is tiny little chameleon sunglasses.
 

amalthea23

New Member
He's 18 months. I had the temps a bit lower for a while, but he was dark and unhappy. Once I added a third light to get the temps up around 100, he was much more colorful and moving around. He never gapes or turns pale or anything, and tends to stick where it's hottest.
 

Lazy Boy

Member
He's 18 months. I had the temps a bit lower for a while, but he was dark and unhappy. Once I added a third light to get the temps up around 100, he was much more colorful and moving around. He never gapes or turns pale or anything, and tends to stick where it's hottest.
They get dark to bask and absorb heat then when they want to cool down the can lighten up and move. Here is the care sheet for panthers. Read up don't want you to think I'm spreading gossip https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/panther/
 

amalthea23

New Member
I know, that's why I raised the heat. He was just sitting dark by the bulb, but once I raised the temp he was able to move around a bit and not act so miserably.
 

werecat

Established Member
I have an issue very similar to yours. My chameleon has seen the vet 3 times for the eye and been on different meds. After no treatment seemed to help, the vet said he may be one of the rare chams that just does not respond to meds. He suggested leaving it alone as treatment was extremely stressful for my little guy. He is also otherwise healthy and has been living with this issue for 9+ months now. Like yours, my cham squints or closes his eye in bright light or tries to hide his head under a leaf. He sometimes keeps it closed in the shade too. We have begun to notice that in the last month or so it seems like he may be blind or partially blind in that eye (although the vet could see no damage at the last check up). He is still able to hunt on his own although his range is not far and he misses more frequently than average. However, this is my situation and even though they are similar, they could be totally different issues.

In your situation, I would say definitely lower the temps and see if that helps. I personally would not go above 95 F. Also you could try changing to the 5.0 UV bulb, but I know there are many people who use the 10.0 bulb with success. Still, worth a try to change it and see how it affects him. How long has your cham been on the meds? If it has been longer than a month or two I would ask the vet if they think it is worth continuing or trying something new. As far has light sensitivity, I would say it is possible as that behavior has also been exhibited in my cham. Still, I think it's worth following up with the exotic ophthalmologist for either a second look or a follow up visit down the line to see if there is any worsening. I'd hate to see your cham's vision degenerate in that eye like it seems to have done in mine. I wish you luck!
 

amalthea23

New Member
it's been about 3 months. The vet suggested discontinuing all meds, and was very against any med with steroids in it for chams, which makes sense, as they're quite small. I've "tested" his vision and his seems fine when his eyes are open. He never misses, though before shedding, he doesn't grab with his tongue as well and sometimes a big roach will drop. Also, he always opens his eyes to eat, etc. I've been leaving him alone for almost a week now, and he's still doing his squinting thing. The day before yesterday, he was squinting up a storm, and then yesterday, he was perfectly fine. The vet also suggested the possibility that it could be a "nervous tick" he's developed or even allergies, though he said no one *really* knows for sure whether or not chameleons can have seasonal allergies.
 

amalthea23

New Member
Oh, I should add that the high temp is only in one small spot in the viv, and he has TONS of vines in ranges from the mid 90's down to the high 70's during the day.
 

amalthea23

New Member
as I said, I used to have it that way, but he wasn't happy with it. The vet was pleased with the parameters.
 

pigglett79

Avid Member
I have an issue very similar to yours. My chameleon has seen the vet 3 times for the eye and been on different meds. After no treatment seemed to help, the vet said he may be one of the rare chams that just does not respond to meds. He suggested leaving it alone as treatment was extremely stressful for my little guy. He is also otherwise healthy and has been living with this issue for 9+ months now. Like yours, my cham squints or closes his eye in bright light or tries to hide his head under a leaf. He sometimes keeps it closed in the shade too. We have begun to notice that in the last month or so it seems like he may be blind or partially blind in that eye (although the vet could see no damage at the last check up). He is still able to hunt on his own although his range is not far and he misses more frequently than average. However, this is my situation and even though they are similar, they could be totally different issues.

In your situation, I would say definitely lower the temps and see if that helps. I personally would not go above 95 F. Also you could try changing to the 5.0 UV bulb, but I know there are many people who use the 10.0 bulb with success. Still, worth a try to change it and see how it affects him. How long has your cham been on the meds? If it has been longer than a month or two I would ask the vet if they think it is worth continuing or trying something new. As far has light sensitivity, I would say it is possible as that behavior has also been exhibited in my cham. Still, I think it's worth following up with the exotic ophthalmologist for either a second look or a follow up visit down the line to see if there is any worsening. I'd hate to see your cham's vision degenerate in that eye like it seems to have done in mine. I wish you luck!
Interesting. We have a male panther who we adopted from someone who could no longer take proper care of him back in November. The previous owner stated that he had an eye issue for almost a year prior and the vet never figured it out. We have since taken him to 2 different vets both of which cannot find anything wrong with the eye. He holds it closed most of the time but will open it occasionally.

His aim is way off so he is mainly hand fed. His blood work and fecal tests are normal and he is otherwise healthy and active. The vet his previous owner took him to thought vit A deficiency so he did get vit A injections and extra vit A but he did not improve. We have since given 2 rounds of antibiotic eye drops and a couple weeks of daily flushes with saline neither of which helped.

One vet thought maybe an organ failure issue that was causing him to close his eye, but his labs have been normal twice. He also had x rays which were normal. So who knows what the issue is, its very frustrating as I wish I could figure it out and help him feel better.
 

amalthea23

New Member
I'm starting to think that maybe it's not THAT crazy to think they can just have a personality quirk, or allergy or anxiety. If they're otherwise completely healthy, sometimes all you can do is rule out a problem and what's left is what it is.
 

amalthea23

New Member
Him being dark to bask does not mean he's unhappy. Good luck with your cham and have a good day.
It wasn't just the color, it was overall general behavior. I've gotten to know him and happy Drogo is relatively active, and interested in exploring. That's all.
 

croastbeast

New Member
Its curious to me that a behavioral reaction that is being seen is immediately thought to be pathogenic in terms of medication, and no environmental. Overexposure to UV can have rather extreme effects,including significant eye issues.
 

amalthea23

New Member
It started back when he was on a 5.0 UVB, and also happens outside and such, which was why I didn't think it was the light, but I'm switching him back to the 5.0 just in case, see how that goes. Just got home and he's in bed, eyes open, looking fine.
 

Fogerty

Member
My veiled had exactly the same squinting issue and apparently they can get a form of conjunctivitis from the lamp being too bright in certain wavelengths to which they are sensitive. I changed his basking lamp to a lower profile but the same wattage , also it is slightly bluer in color, more like a type "A" lamp for a bathroom vanity, since it was more recessed in the fixture it cut down on the amount reflection and his "popeye" squinting cleared up in about a week with no permanent damage. It is like going skiing on a sunny day you can not help but squint.
 
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