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Green Anole Lizard Swollen Eye

My lizard's left eye has become swollen and closed completely.

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I’m having some problems with my small female green anole. Her left eye has become swollen and closed completely. It protrudes out a couple of millimeters and has gone a deep red color. Also, I now believe that it is has spread to her right eye, and I am concerned that this ailment will leave her blind and unable to hunt. I have other anoles, but this is the first time I’ve seen this. I’m very worried that I may lose her and that it could potentially spread to the other anoles in my care. There are pages on the web but all say different things, and the books I have don’t mention eye problems. Please help.

I, too, am very concerned that your little female anole may have such serious damage to its eyes that it will result in permanent disability. Because it seems to either have spread to the other eye, or is also occurring in the right eye, as well, I think that it is vital that you find a qualified herp veterinarian in your area so that you can have your anole evaluated and treated, if possible.


I know that a trip to the vet can be expensive, but it may be your only chance to save your anole. I am very worried that if it loses sight in both eyes that it won’t be able to procure food, and it could starve or become dehydrated if it can’t locate water droplets to drink. While the rare herp may be able to find enough food to survive when blind, it would be much better to prevent blindness than try to deal with it.

If you don’t have any herp vets in your area, if you can locate a vet who is willing to see your anole, you can suggest that he or she request a consultation with a more experienced herp vet affiliated with the veterinary diagnostic lab that they use for lab testing. Most labs offer veterinary consultations as a free service to clients using that lab. Also, another possible option may be to find a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist who is willing to see herps to examine and treat your anole, because this appears to be a primary eye problem (although this may be a sign of systemic disease).

There are many diseases and conditions that can cause the type of eye problems that you are describing. This could be a parasitic problem, bacterial problem, fungal disease, congenital problem, foreign body or environmental issues. So, you see, you will need a vet to determine what is causing the problem to get the best chance of treating your anole correctly.

Please don’t wait any longer. Find a herp vet who can help you with your little anole to be able to give it the best opportunity to recover (although it may not be possible to cure it and restore its vision). But, it’s worth a try.

Margaret A. Wissman, DVM, DABVP has been an avian/exotic/herp animal veterinarian since 1981. She is a regular contributor to REPTILES magazine.


Need a Herp Vet?
If you are looking for a herp-knowledgeable veterinarian in your area, a good place to start is by checking the list of members on the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarian (ARAV) web site at www.arav.com. Look for DVMs who appear to maintain actual veterinary offices that you could contact.