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Reptiles/chineese water dragon


I have had this water dragon for about 6 months she has never been a great eater but will eat twice a week mealworms or crickets he has a beautiful greeen, blue, brown coat and is active at times. My problem is his eyes seem to be coated over and he rarely tries to open them. he has not shed in about two weeks, this did happen last time when his eyes did not shed completely but this looks different and I do not see any left over skin on his eyes. I have tried washing with warm water and he snaps at mean when I do this but otherwise is quite docile. Any ideas???

Hi Priscilla,

It sounds like the nictitating membranes are inflamed and not receding. CWD's do not have eye caps or spectacles that shed off but rather a third eye lid that is a semi-transparent mucous membrane. They would use it while under water but you would not easily see it under normal circumstances.

There are a few things can cause this inflammation such as infections (bacterial, viral or parasitic), physical or chemical irritation and even vitamin deficiency.

I suspect you may need to see a vet who may use optical steroid drops to reduce the inflamed membranes and allow them to move back to normal position. He/she may also use fluorescent drops that will allow them to see any corneal damage that may be triggering the protective membranes to remain over the eye.

In the meantime, keep flushing the eye but I would suggest using saline (sold for contact lenses) instead of water. Plain water can cause further swelling of exposed membranes.
You can also try using any antibiotic eye drops that are sold for human use that can be purchased over the counter. Polysporin is the brand available here in Canada, without a prescription.

An old farming trick that my avian vet still recommends for birds is to bath the eye with weak, cooled tea. The tannins in tea are slightly acidic and  have natural anti-bacterial properties. This worked incredibly well for a cockatiel I had with exposed nictitating membranes.

This link has some photos of nictitating membranes

I apologize for the delay in responding. I don't seem to be able to convince my computer that e-mail from the All-Experts site is not spam.


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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