The last few years have been great for the popularity of bearded dragons and although they had seen a couple of years of decline, their recent surge in popularity has made them the most commonly kept pet reptile.
Since becoming the most commonly kept pet reptile, the popularity of bearded dragons has just been growing year on year and shows no signs of slowing down.
Due to their popularity, a large number of people who keep pet bearded dragons have been reaching out and asking various questions about how they should go about caring for their pet.
One problem that has been causing issues for many people is their bearded dragon having red eyes that just keep on getting redder and redder as time goes on.
As this can be a potentially serious issue, we wanted to publish a dedicated article going over the most common reasons a bearded dragon may have red eyes.
This article is not intended to be a replacement for professional advice from a veterinarian though and is for informational purposes only!
Why Your Bearded Dragon Has Red Eyes!
Here is our short list of the most common causes of red eyes in bearded dragons:-
- Parasite Infections!
- Substrate In The Eye!
- Vitamin A Deficiency!
- Heating Lamp Too Strong!
- Hygiene Problems!
- Humidity Issues!
At times, a bearded dragon may actually have problems with two, three or even more of these problems all at the same time.
Instead of finding the first potential problem that your pet bearded dragon may have causing its eyes to turn red, at least skim the full article to get an idea of all possible causes to consider.
A parasite infection is one of the most common problems that can cause a bearded dragon’s eyes to turn red.
While there are many different types of parasites that can infect bearded dragons, the most common ones are usually mites, ticks and lice.
Mites are tiny little creatures that burrow into the skin and feed off of their host’s blood.
Ticks are a bit larger than mites and also attach themselves to their host to feed on their blood.
Lice are larger still and while they can also feed on their host’s blood, they are more commonly found just eating the skin around the bearded dragon’s scales.
All of these parasites can cause a lot of irritation to the skin which can lead to a bearded dragon scratching and rubbing its eyes a lot.
The constant scratching and rubbing can then lead to the eyes getting irritated and turning red.
If you think that your pet bearded dragon may have a parasite infection, the best course of action is to take it to see a veterinarian as they will be able to properly diagnose the problem and prescribe the correct medication.
Substrate In The Eye!
Another common cause of red eyes in bearded dragons is actually having substrate (i.e. sand, soil, etc.) get into their eyes.
While many people choose to use sand as a substrate for their pet bearded dragon’s enclosure, it is not the best choice as it is very easy for bearded dragons to accidentally kick sand up into their eyes while they are walking around.
Soil and other substrates can also cause the same problem.
If you think that your pet bearded dragon may have substrate in its eyes, the best course of action is to gently flush the eye out with lukewarm water.
Do not use anything other than lukewarm water as anything else may further irritate the eye.
If you cannot get the substrate out of the eye or if the eye looks like it is getting more irritated, take your bearded dragon to see a veterinarian as they will be able to properly flush the eye and treat any irritation.
Vitamin A Deficiency!
One of the most common problems that can lead to a bearded dragon having red eyes is actually a vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A is an important vitamin for many different functions in the body, including eye health.
If a bearded dragon does not have enough vitamin A in its system, it can lead to a condition called xerophthalmia which basically means that the eyes do not have enough moisture and can become dry and irritated.
If you think that your pet bearded dragon may be vitamin A deficient, the best course of action is to try and add a reptile multivitamin to the diet of your bearded dragon.
Many people are surprised at just how deficient their pet bearded dragon is in various vitamins and minerals so we usually recommend everyone supplements their beardies diet with a multivitamin.
Heating Lamp Too Strong!
Bearded dragons need a basking spot in their enclosure that has a temperature of around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
This basking spot is usually provided by a special reptile basking bulb that is placed in a lamp fixture above the enclosure.
The problem is that many people make the mistake of placing the basking bulb too close to their bearded dragon’s basking spot.
If the basking bulb is too close, it can actually cause the temperature in the basking spot to be too high which can lead to a condition called photokeratitis.
Photokeratitis basically means that the eyes get sunburned from being exposed to too much heat and light turning the eye and skin around it red.
Adjusting the position or intensity setting on your heating lamp should be able to fix this but cheap heating units are usually too prone to inaccurate intensity dials so you may need to upgrade to a better lamp.
Another common cause of red eyes in bearded dragons is actually just a general lack of hygiene in their enclosure.
Bearded dragons are very clean animals and they do not like being kept in dirty conditions.
If their enclosure is not cleaned on a regular basis, it can lead to a build-up of bacteria which can lead to a number of health problems, including red eyes.
To prevent this, be sure to clean your bearded dragon’s enclosure at least once a week and spot clean it every day.
One final cause of red eyes in bearded dragons is actually humidity issues.
Bearded dragons come from very dry desert environments and they do not do well in humid conditions.
If the humidity in their enclosure is too high, it can lead to a number of health problems, including respiratory infections and red eyes.
To prevent this, be sure to maintain the humidity level in your bearded dragon’s enclosure at around 20-40%.
You can do this by using a hygrometer to measure the humidity level and by using a reptile fogger or mister to keep the enclosure lightly moist.
Dehydration is another common cause of red eyes in bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons come from very dry desert environments and they do not do well in humid conditions and always need access to drinking water.
Unfortunately, some bearded dragons will still not drink as frequently as they should even if they always have access to clean water so dehydration can be an on going issue for many bearded dragons.