Swollen Eyes in Turtles

It can be very concerning when your turtle’s eyes start to swell up. They typically start to get a red outline, and then a white covering will start to cover their eyes. In today’s article, I’ll explain everything you need to now about swollen eyes in turtles, and how you can treat it. Treating swollen eyes in turtles will depend on the root cause.

Why are my turtle’s eyes swollen?

The three main causes of swollen eyes in turtles are vitamin A deficiency, eye infections, and respiratory infections.

Below I will address how you treat each cause.

Vitamin A deficiency

One of the main causes of swollen eyes in turtles is vitamin A deficiency. This typically happens when you don’t provide your turtle with a variety of pellets and vegetables. There are some commercial pellets as well as some vegetables that have very little vitamin A.

Vitamin A is essential for your turtle’s health, as it helps build and repair the cell membranes in and around their mouth and eyes. Therefore, when a turtle doesn’t get enough vitamin A, it is common for their eyes to swell up.

Luckily, if caught early enough, it is pretty easy for your turtle to recover from swollen eyes caused by a vitamin A deficiency.

Treating a vitamin A deficiency

As you would expect, the key to treating a vitamin A deficiency with your turtle is to feed them food that is high in vitamin A. Some good examples include carrots and kale. You can also give your turtle a carrot soak, which consists of putting them in a bucket filled with a carrot and water solution. I explain how to do this in the video below.

If your turtle won’t eat carrots or kale, you can also feed them mango. However, mango is high in sugar so you should only give it to your turtle two or three times per week.

If your turtle’s condition doesn’t improve after a week or so, you should give them some vitamins. You can find a wide range of turtle eye vitamins on amazon for less than $10. If those eye vitamins don’t work, then you should take your turtle to the vet.

Eye infection causing swollen eyes in turtle

Your turtle’s swollen eyes can also be cause by a bacterial or fungal eye infection. This can happen if you don’t condition tap water before putting in your tank, or if your tank water is dirty. Turtles are also more prone to eye infections if their water or basking platforms are too cold.

If you suspect that your turtle has an eye infection, there are a couple things you can try.

  1. First, you should do a thorough clean of their tank. I suggest doing at least a 75% water change, and scrub down any waste stuck on the glass. Also clean the surfaces of any decorations or basking platforms that are in the tank.
  2. Next, you should increase the water temperature to 90 degrees, and then the basking platform to 100 degrees. This will help strengthen your turtle’s immune system, which can help them better fight off the eye infection.
  3. If this still doesn’t work, you should get this anti-microbial eye drops from amazon. It helps clean out your turtle’s eyes, and can fight off a bacterial infection.

This rinse should be able to reduce the inflammation in your turtle’s puffy eyes.

If this eye rinse is not able to improve your turtle’s condition, then you should take them to a vet. There are some types of eye infections that can only be treated by prescribed medication, so it’s better to be extra safe.

Turtle swollen eyes caused by respiratory infection

The final cause of swollen eyes in turtles is respiratory infection. Unfortunately, this is the hardest to treat, and the most deadly. If your turtle is displaying any of the following symptoms, there is a chance they have a respiratory infection:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Clicking sounds
  • Lethargy
  • Constantly extending their neck out

Unfortunately, it is extremely hard to treat a respiratory infection at home. This means that if you suspect your turtle has one, you should take them to a vet immediately. They will have to administer antibiotics in order to fight off the infection. Since a respiratory infection can kill a turtle in a matter of days, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

If going to the vet is not an option, you can watch my video below. It covers some ways you can try to treat a turtle respiratory infection at home.