Veiled Chameleon eyes are closed


New Member

I am the owner of a veiled chameleon (male), approximately 5-6 months old. I am worried about his health, as he has not opened his eyes save for a few times over the last 3 weeks. I didn't really notice any problems at first which I am worrying has helped to promote whatever is ailing him. I had initially thought that it was a simple case of dehydration, and so I have been bathing him 2-3 times a day in Pedialyte and drip feeding him water and Pedialyte mixture. I have been feeding him two or three crickets or meal worms or a combination of both every day... the assisted feeding and the bathing has been going on for about 10 days. He exhibits long periods of color fading, he gets to a very pale almost white green. He is not mobile at all, and I have almost relegated him to the bottom of the tank as he will fall off of branches. Now that he is on the floor of the cage he does not move around. He just lays there. When he does move around he fumbles around blindly, paws at the walls of the cage.

He seems to be re-hydrated and well enough fed. I am having a hard time justifying feeding him more because he is reluctant to open his mouth and it is beginning to bruise the skin on his lower jaw. Why can he not regain the use of his eyes? I read somewhere that the compact UVB bulbs are bad for eyes of chameleons, and so I recently switched over to an 18" tube (that is only a 24 hour change). Could he need more time to allow any damage to the eyes to heal?

I have been giving him a drop solution of terramycin to the eyes to combat possible infections, and it is after all of these solutions that I am beginning to believe that something more is wrong. Any ideas or suggestions, please shoot them to me as I am new here, and to the world of chameleons. I keep my tank clean, and I have timers for the lights, I try to keep a steady humidity of about 50-60 percent. I make sure he has a constant drip water source, and I mist 3 times a day. Please share some thoughts, and shed some light on the problem.
What kind of compact bulb were you using and how old was it? There was a compact bulb being sold on the market that was causing blindness in reptiles but that was sometime ago. that is not a good sign that your cham has not opened his eyes in that long of a period. Are there any types of eye infection present? If not, it could be the lighting did some damage. What kind of supplements are you using and how long have you owned him? You say tank, are you talking an aquarium? Please fill this out so we can try and figure out what is wrong
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is he pooin normally? The color of his urates will give you a good idea of his hydration state. Your best bet would be to fill out the form linked:

That way we can all analyze your husbandry and maybe something stands out that we can all help correct and get your cham healthy again. From what you wrote, it could be a possibility of many things or maybe just one simple husbandry fix.
I would say take him to a Vet. as soon as you can if possible. :) My first Cham. passed after only having him for 3 days, right before he passed he was doing the same as your little guy. He didn't have a firm grip of anything, kept his eyes closed, and clawed blindly trying to grab something. Good luck and hope he makes it. :(
What specific supplements do you use and how often for each?
What do you feed the insects specifically?
Is there any glass or plastic between the UVB light and the chameleon?
Does he show any signs of MBD? (No trunkal lifting, crooked arms that look like they have an extra "elbow" above the real one, etc.)
Your Chameleon - Veiled, Male, 5-6 months old
Handling - at first 2 times a week? now I take him out every day two or three times to water and feed him
Feeding - Crickets, meal worms for the last 7 days, gut load is Esu Reptile Gut Load, I also give them leaf lettuce and hydrate with water
Supplements - Tetra fauna reptocal with D3, and just tonight I bought some vitamin A supplement to give him because it sounded like a vitamin A deficiency
Watering - I mist twice a day, I had installed a basic drip system (cup and pinhole) I have seen him drink on occasion, but it was apparent 7-10 days ago that he was dehydrated, couldn't see as his eyes were closed, so we knew he was not eating or drinking
Fecal Description - Fecal matter is dark brown (grey brown when fresh) and urate was quite yellow but has returned to a pale yellow almost white color
History - N/A

Cage Info: 18 x 18 x 24
Cage Type - Glass enclosure, screen top and vented base (ZooMed)
Lighting - (Initial light) ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0 UVA/UVB Compact Bulb, just switched to the 18" tube UVB bulb (that one has a clear plastic protection for the bulb on the enclosure)
Temperature - (Daytime) 75-85 degree for the upper third of the cage, Floor to middle 70-75 degree... night time about the same maybe a slight decrease.
Humidity - Humidity is inconsistent, I was trying to maintain around 80 percent had good luck getting 70, but I had done some reading about three days ago that said too high was not good so I have let it go down 50 percent, and at night it can get down to 20... this is all because I am trying to prevent an infection onset.
Plants - No live plants
Placement - top of cage is 3 feet off of the floor, it is in a relatively low traffic area, and it does not incur any temp fluctuations other than the from the lamps.
Location - Corning, NY

I had a few replies, and I am thankful for that. To be honest I can't recall what any of you said other than to fill out the help sheet, which I have done. I did some more reading around and think this might be related to a Vitamin A deficiency, but I am no expert. please take all that I have said into account and send me your best guesstimates about what is wrong. I really appreciate it. He was quite successful and living very well (good hunting and mobile for the first 2 and half months, is this about the period of time that could cause for a deficiency to show? ... He has gone through one shedding cycle since I got him, and I got him from a Petco when he was very small. I am assuming that he is 5-6 months, but it could be only 4-5 months.
To the Senior Member;

I highly doubt there is any MBD (Muscular Bone Disease?). He appears to be quite straight in all areas, maintains the ability to flex and contract, he may have some swelling of the ankles but I think that this is because he is recovering from the dehydration.

Her are some pictures of the eye area. in photo 638, you can almost make out the eye ball as it is resting in the bottom of the socket.

After looking at some other images of veiled chameleons I am thinking he may still be slightly dehydrated. Patiently waiting to hear from someone who might shed some expert light on the situation.


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All I can say is try frequent long warm mistings or a long warm shower. He could have something in his eyes and the warm shower or long misting will aid in removing the whatever is in there. It could have also been caused by the bulb you had at first. Best bet would be the Vet. a good Cham. experienced one. Fecal can be done to make sure he's parasite free... I REALLY hope someone else with more experience chimes in and sheds some more light. Sorry I couldn't been more helpful.:(
your new light requires that you don't have anything plastic or glass between it and the bulb...I'll bet this was caused by the old zoo-med compact light.
I hope it goes away soon. it should.

Lighting - (Initial light) ZooMed ReptiSun 5.0 UVA/UVB Compact Bulb, just switched to the 18" tube UVB bulb (that one has a clear plastic protection for the bulb on the enclosure).

Make sure you remove any clear plastic protection that may be over the UV bulb. UV can't pass through glass or plastic.

Live plants will help keep the humidity levels higher.

I wonder if your glass and screen enclosure is not providing him with enough air flow.
IMHO there seems to be some deformity to the arm in the photo....just slight but still it shouldn't be there. There is also some swelling around the nostril opening.

As was already said...there should be no plastic covering on the light. The eye issues may be from the light, but there are other things that might be causing it too.

As for the bruising from forcing it to open its mouth. It shouldn't be necessary to force it to open its mouth. You can drip water on the tip of the nose and when it starts to drink the water, put a cricket between its teeth. Unless its really sick, it should take the cricket.

Regarding supplements...its important to dust at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for the normally poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus found in most feeder insects.

Its usually recommended to dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder to ensure that the chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it....and allowing the chameleon to produce the rest of the D3 it needs from its exposure to the UVB light. D3 produced from exposure to UVB should not result in an overdose as long as the chameleon can move in and out of the UVB light.

Dusting twice a month with a vitamin powder with a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets its vitamins without the worry of overdoing prEformed vitamin A since beta carotene will not build up in the system like prEformed can. Excess prEformed vitamin A may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. If the chameleon needs prEformed vitamin A then the owner can provide it separately and thus control it so it won't create an overdose.

Regarding gutloading/feeding the insects...crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms can be fed a wide variety of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, zucchini, sweet potato, sweet red peppers, etc.).
Follow up questions

"There is also some swelling around the nostril opening." -kinyonga

What do you think that this could be a sign of?

I have been trying to stay vigilant an continue to address the eye issue as best as I can. I am giving the little guy small doses of Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) and (Retinol Palmitate). I have been doing this for 4 days, and I have switched to a tube style bulb, but still have seen no sign of the eyes opening.

So now I am somewhat frustrated... It seems that I have multiple problems.

Closed Eyes (current)

Swollen nostrils (not sure what this is all about)

Lethargic (probably due to lack of vision)

any thoughts or comments?
Spurs on the back two feet make this most definitely not a female. Probably didn't see those in the pics because there are no pics of the rear feet. Thanks for the reply?

If your strip light came with a plastic lens you have to remove it. Plastic and glass blocks almost all of the UVB.
The plastic has been removed from the Zilla UVB tube light housing... thanks so much for your input. :confused:

Please post to this if you have any ideas about the eyes being closed, or the swollen nostrils.

I am thinking that this may be either a vitamin A issue, or UVB light blindness issue. I have changed the light and I have added vitamin A to the chameleons diet. If I am overlooking something, or if someone has another hypothesis on why the blindness continues, then the help is greatly appreciated.
Did you guy shed before this happened? My little man had a rough shed and started messing with his eyes but showering him this morning seemed to make him 90% better. As someone said in my thread could be a scrathed eye.

Just take him to the vet, itll be better for everyone at that point
Emrozz so how is he doing now? Is he ok?
Well i got a same problem, and i already had an appointment w/ a Vet. on Wednesday. I'm just wondering, my cham could survive till wednesday. If not, that i have to sent him to emergancy.:(
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