Serious Eye Condition

GrantOsman

New Member
Hi everyone. I’m very concerned about my baby veiled Chameleon’s eye. I’ve only had her for a few weeks and she was perfectly healthy when I got her. She is in an all mesh enclosure with plenty of space and a lot of foliage to climb around on (real and fake plants) (the real plants are ok for Chams). She is very active and uses all areas of her habitat to climb around on. She eats around 10 or so crickets a day that are the correct size, occasionally powdered with calcium and vitamin D powder. She has a uvb bulb along with a regular house bulb to provide heat in a zoomed lamp that is sitting on top of the enclosure. She has a regular basking spot a few inches away from the basking bulb on the highest vine. I mist her enclosure many times a day and never spray her directly. I don’t think she is dehydrated or too hot or cold. Her body color looks good and her urates are white. She has a voracious appetite like normal babies. She has shed once since we’ve had her. A few days after her first shed her eye began looking dry. I thought maybe she was beginning to shed again and didn’t think much of it. As another day passed, her eye began to look crusty and more dry and also misshapen and discolored with limited mobility. It’s has a crusted over look to it, but it wasn’t showing typical signs of regular infection I was finding online (aka really swollen and producing discharge or completely closed). Her eye has remained open. She also scratches it on branches frequently and was doing that thing where they try and press their eye in to clean it. It’s very concerning and I don’t know what the cause is. It’s now the weekend and I have to wait until Monday to take her to the vet ASAP. I have spoken to the vet and a few pet stores and I’m applying Vetericyn gel to her eye to try and lubricate it and keep it clean until then. The gel appears to help with it itching but has also created a glaze over the eyeball and I’m fairly certain she can barely see anything out of that eye. If you’ve seen anything like this or have any info I’d love to here from you. If I forgot any details feel free to ask. I’m very concerned...
 

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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm not good with figuring eye issues out...there are way too many possibilities. Could be debris in the eye, infection, blocked tear duct, or even parasites sometimes cause eye issues. I think a good chameleon vet is the best option if it's still like this today.
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Aww poor little girl :(

What are you using for lighting, and what is the temperature in her basking area?
She has a zoo med light hood that holds a zoo med ReptiSun 10.0 uvb bulb. Her basking bulb is a simple GE house bulb: 60w. They sent us home with a 75w bulb for her heat lamp and it immediately started melting the side of the light hood. It was also red and I understand Chams don’t like red light or it isn’t great for them. I turn both lights off at night. I know 60w isn’t that high, but she hasn’t exhibited any signs of being cold. She has a regular basking spot but she doesn’t stay there all the time. She is very good about exploring her whole habitat daily and hunting for crickets at the bottom. Also her branch is only about 4 or 5 inches below her top vine. She seems to enjoy it. I do need to get myself a temp gauge in there though!
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Well slightly good news everyone...I’ve at least got her sight back for today. There is somewhat of a pro and con with the Vetericyn...the pro is that it does seem to be soothing as she itches her eye less on branches when I apply it. The con however is that she’s so small that the Vetericyn gel cakes over her eye (as you saw from yesterday’s picture). So this morning, I took a glass of warm water and a dropper and put a couple drops on her eye, which seemed to loosen things up. She rubbed it for a minute and then I took her out and very gently with a q tip I was able to remove the gunk covering her eye. Her eye still doesn’t looks terrible compared to the other, but she has slightly more mobility in it and she can at least see! I will still be taking her to the vet tomorrow ASAP but I’m at least slightly relieved for the time being...
 

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GrantOsman

New Member
I'm not good with figuring eye issues out...there are way too many possibilities. Could be debris in the eye, infection, blocked tear duct, or even parasites sometimes cause eye issues. I think a good chameleon vet is the best option if it's still like this today.
Hopefully the vet tomorrow will have more info getting to take a look in person...honestly I’ve exhausted myself on google searches and you’re right...it could be any of those really... My endless googling hasn’t really provided much clarity, other than what you just mentioned. I almost wonder if she got a particle of shed skin in her eye from her previous shed, considering it wasn’t long after, and then maybe it just continued to get irritated. But I wouldn’t think that would be common since they shed all the time. I’m at a loss! I just want to make sure I’m doing everything correctly to prevent it from occurring again! It’s rather dramatic looking when they get eye issues I’ve learned. And I also know you have to act somewhat fast. I’ve been stressing myself out wondering what the time frame is before permanent damage 😬
 

CBee7726

Avid Member
She has a zoo med light hood that holds a zoo med ReptiSun 10.0 uvb bulb. Her basking bulb is a simple GE house bulb: 60w. They sent us home with a 75w bulb for her heat lamp and it immediately started melting the side of the light hood. It was also red and I understand Chams don’t like red light or it isn’t great for them. I turn both lights off at night. I know 60w isn’t that high, but she hasn’t exhibited any signs of being cold. She has a regular basking spot but she doesn’t stay there all the time. She is very good about exploring her whole habitat daily and hunting for crickets at the bottom. Also her branch is only about 4 or 5 inches below her top vine. She seems to enjoy it. I do need to get myself a temp gauge in there though!
Is the Reptisun bulb a compact (coil) bulb or a linear tube bulb? If it is a linear tube, is it a T5 HO or a T8?

I'm amazed that a 75w bulb would have melted the fixture it is in... what kind of fixture do you have for this? You're right, most people use a simple incandescent house bulb for basking. The wattage is less important, and it is more important to verify that it is creating the proper basking temp for your cham.

Does she screen climb at all & hang out directly underneath either light?
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Is the Reptisun bulb a compact (coil) bulb or a linear tube bulb? If it is a linear tube, is it a T5 HO or a T8?

I'm amazed that a 75w bulb would have melted the fixture it is in... what kind of fixture do you have for this? You're right, most people use a simple incandescent house bulb for basking. The wattage is less important, and it is more important to verify that it is creating the proper basking temp for your cham.

Does she screen climb at all & hang out directly underneath either light?
It looks like it is a compact bulb. She doesn’t spend too much time under it though compared to her basking light. And I know! We were amazed too! But that thing was hot as hell and immediately started burning the hood. Maybe it was because it was a red light? I’m not sure...and yes she does screen climb but it’s usually always on the sides to go up or down the enclosure. I’ve only seen her climb underneath the lights like once or twice and it was when she was going after a cricket and not to bask under.
 

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CBee7726

Avid Member
It looks like it is a compact bulb. She doesn’t spend too much time under it though compared to her basking light. And I know! We were amazed too! But that thing was hot as hell and immediately started burning the hood. Maybe it was because it was a red light? I’m not sure...and yes she does screen climb but it’s usually always on the sides to go up or down the enclosure. I’ve only seen her climb underneath the lights like once or twice and it was when she was going after a cricket and not to bask under.
So I may be diverging from the eye issue a bit, but the recommendation for UVB is a linear T5 HO 5.0 (or 6%) fixture and bulb. The compact bulbs unfortunately don't provide enough UVB for it to be beneficial for your cham. The compact bulbs were known for eye injuries at one point I believe, but this was before I got into the hobby and I believe that I've heard that issue has resolved though. However, the issue of inadequate UVB is still a problem with compact bulbs.

What's the long plastic fixture on top of the cage for?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Don’t use warm water on a chameleon, especially on the eye! What’s warm to us is scalding to them! Her lights could be causing her eye issues, too. Could you fill out this form as detailed as possible and with as many pictures as possible, please?

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
 

GrantOsman

New Member
So I may be diverging from the eye issue a bit, but the recommendation for UVB is a linear T5 HO 5.0 (or 6%) fixture and bulb. The compact bulbs unfortunately don't provide enough UVB for it to be beneficial for your cham. The compact bulbs were known for eye injuries at one point I believe, but this was before I got into the hobby and I believe that I've heard that issue has resolved though. However, the issue of inadequate UVB is still a problem with compact bulbs.

What's the long plastic fixture on top of the cage for?
I have definitely come across that as well: people saying the compact bulbs were hurting their chameleons eyes. I will have to look into that and see if that is still a thing. And the plastic fixture at the top is the lamp hood. One side has the uvb bulb and the other side her basking bulb.
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Don’t use warm water on a chameleon, especially on the eye! What’s warm to us is scalding to them! Her lights could be causing her eye issues, too. Could you fill out this form as detailed as possible and with as many pictures as possible, please?

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
I will keep that in mind about the warm water...I made sure it was very tepid. And to clarify, I didn’t put any water in her eye. The Vetericyn had gelled over her eye and coated it, and the water droplets helped loosen the gel so it could be wiped away and she could see again. Thank you though.
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Well good news everyone...I took her into the vet today, and as I guessed, she did not have an eye infection. The vet suspected that when she went through her last shed, her eye did not shed completely, and the skin became stuck around the eye, making it very dry and crusty. He prescribed her terramycin ointment which has been working great. The Vetericyn I was using was frustrating, because although it gave her temporary relief and moisturized her eye, it also completely gelled over her eye so she could not see and I would have to help her clear the gel from her eye. Not only that, but it only moisturized the area for hardly any time at all before it looked crusty again. 10 minutes I’d say. The Terramycin is an ointment, not a gel, and after just one application from the vet it’s proven to be very lubricating for her eye and lasts for around 8 hours before another application is needed. It also doesn’t funk up around her eye so she is able to see and use her eye as normal. It looks a lot better after using the ointment just one time and she is beginning to gain mobility in the eye again. I am supposed to apply it 2-3 times daily for a week and then the vet will check on her again. I feel like this will do the trick though based on what I’ve seen! I hope anyone dealing with the same problem in the future will be helped by this thread. Her eye looked very bad and it seems like a very dramatic situation in the moment fearing that your chameleon might be left permantly injured! But thankfully it just turned out to be an eye that didn’t shed completely and became dry and crusty. Also, just to note: I firmly believe the reason she had an unsuccessful shed was due to low humidity levels. When I had a chameleon years ago he was in a glass enclosure that was easy to keep humid. This time around my baby chameleon has an entirely mesh enclosure...combine that with the fact that it’s winter and fairly dry in our house and that she’s a baby...I’m not surprised it happened, even with me misting many times a day. To remedy this, I bought a shower curtain liner at the dollar store and wrapped it around three sides of her enclosure, leaving the front and top exposed. I’m hoping this will hold in moisture a little better when I mist. I’ve also ordered a new digital thermometer/humidity gauge just to make sure I can monitor the levels more appropriately. I hope this has been helpful! I appreciate all the support in trying to help me figure out the issue! I’m very relieved that it looks like she’ll be on her way to a full recovery now!
 

CBee7726

Avid Member
I have definitely come across that as well: people saying the compact bulbs were hurting their chameleons eyes. I will have to look into that and see if that is still a thing. And the plastic fixture at the top is the lamp hood. One side has the uvb bulb and the other side her basking bulb.
I see. I want to emphasize that even though the issue causing eye injury has been reportedly resolved, the compact UVB bulb likely won't provide enough output to be fully beneficial to your chameleon. Using a compact bulb will likely cause a cham to develop MBD down the road. The general recommendation on this site is a T5 HO 5.0 (or 6%) linear UVB, which provides a much stronger output. @Beman and @Gingero know a lot about lighting.
 

CBee7726

Avid Member
Well good news everyone...I took her into the vet today, and as I guessed, she did not have an eye infection. The vet suspected that when she went through her last shed, her eye did not shed completely, and the skin became stuck around the eye, making it very dry and crusty. He prescribed her terramycin ointment which has been working great. The Vetericyn I was using was frustrating, because although it gave her temporary relief and moisturized her eye, it also completely gelled over her eye so she could not see and I would have to help her clear the gel from her eye. Not only that, but it only moisturized the area for hardly any time at all before it looked crusty again. 10 minutes I’d say. The Terramycin is an ointment, not a gel, and after just one application from the vet it’s proven to be very lubricating for her eye and lasts for around 8 hours before another application is needed. It also doesn’t funk up around her eye so she is able to see and use her eye as normal. It looks a lot better after using the ointment just one time and she is beginning to gain mobility in the eye again. I am supposed to apply it 2-3 times daily for a week and then the vet will check on her again. I feel like this will do the trick though based on what I’ve seen! I hope anyone dealing with the same problem in the future will be helped by this thread. Her eye looked very bad and it seems like a very dramatic situation in the moment fearing that your chameleon might be left permantly injured! But thankfully it just turned out to be an eye that didn’t shed completely and became dry and crusty. Also, just to note: I firmly believe the reason she had an unsuccessful shed was due to low humidity levels. When I had a chameleon years ago he was in a glass enclosure that was easy to keep humid. This time around my baby chameleon has an entirely mesh enclosure...combine that with the fact that it’s winter and fairly dry in our house and that she’s a baby...I’m not surprised it happened, even with me misting many times a day. To remedy this, I bought a shower curtain liner at the dollar store and wrapped it around three sides of her enclosure, leaving the front and top exposed. I’m hoping this will hold in moisture a little better when I mist. I’ve also ordered a new digital thermometer/humidity gauge just to make sure I can monitor the levels more appropriately. I hope this has been helpful! I appreciate all the support in trying to help me figure out the issue! I’m very relieved that it looks like she’ll be on her way to a full recovery now!
Glad to hear that she's doing much better!
 

GrantOsman

New Member
Glad to hear that she's doing much better!
I see. I want to emphasize that even though the issue causing eye injury has been reportedly resolved, the compact UVB bulb likely won't provide enough output to be fully beneficial to your chameleon. Using a compact bulb will likely cause a cham to develop MBD down the road. The general recommendation on this site is a T5 HO 5.0 (or 6%) linear UVB, which provides a much stronger output. @Beman and @Gingero know a lot about lighting.
I certainly understand the compact bulbs do not generate the same power of uvb as the longer tube fixtures. I looked into it, and at 12” away the 10.0 only puts off 0.5 uvb. However at 4” away it puts off the recommended 3.0. That’s roughly how far away her vine is from that bulb I would say. When she outgrows this setup I will likely switch out her equipment.
 

coastal_chameleon

Avid Member
Don’t use warm water on a chameleon, especially on the eye! What’s warm to us is scalding to them! Her lights could be causing her eye issues, too. Could you fill out this form as detailed as possible and with as many pictures as possible, please?

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.

--------------

Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
Just a question ,this isn't the first time I heard someone say that warm water to us might be scalding to them , but I also hear that chameleons suffer from burns because they don't know they are being burned ???? so can they feel heat or not ???
 

cham girl

Avid Member
i know they run from cold water mist but don't from 85 degree mist so that is what I use because it works!
 
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