Can You Use Turtle Eye Drops on a Chameleon

NO!  Do NOT use turtle eye drops (tears) on your Chameleon nor any other reptile species.  Chameleons and turtles share the same eye problems, but the treatment is different for each type of animal.  If you try to treat a Chameleon with turtle tears, it could cause further damage such as corneal abrasions and scar tissue development. THIS

IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW!  Reptiles need to see their vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Treatment and Causes


You can treat Chameleons with Ophthalmic Bacterin (bacitracin/neomycin) or Sulfa (sulfacetamide sodium) eye drops.  Chameleon eye problems are typically caused by vitamin A deficiency, injury, toxins, etc.  Diagnosis requires a complete exam to ensure proper treatment of the problem.


Can you use Turtle Eye Drops on other Reptile Species?


NO!  DO NOT use any turtle eye products on your chameleon or any other reptile species.  Turtles have different eye problems, so they need different treatments.

Turtles may have conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers (from scratches), uveitis (inflammation in the eye), and cataracts.  They can be treated with ophthalmic Bacterin (bacitracin/neomycin) or Sulfa (sulfacetamide sodium) eye drops.


Can you use Turtle Eye Drops on any other Animal Species?


NO!  Your veterinarian should treat all other animal species and not use turtle tears on your Chameleon, Turtle, etc.

It is important to accurately diagnose your pet’s health issue to provide proper treatment and improve prognosis.

Turtle eye drops (tears) should NOT be used on any other animal species.  If you suspect that your pet reptile has an eye infection, please take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. This is very important as most reptile pets cannot communicate with their owners if they feel ill or in pain!


The following may cause further damage such as corneal abrasions and scar tissue development:

•   Using turtle or crocodile tears

•   Using human eye care products, e.g., Visine™, Clear Eyes™, etc.

•   Using saline or artificial tears found at pharmacies without consulting a vet first    NOTE: Artificial tears are for HUMANS and CAN NOT be used on animals.

•   Using ANY product before a reptile vet (exotic pet veterinary) has properly diagnosed the problem.


Common Chameleon eye problems


“Well, I’m glad you asked that question because it gives me an opportunity to talk about chameleon eye problems. Chameleons in the wild live in a world of high definition and contrast, full of vivid greens with deep blacks contrasting them. They’re able to see things we can’t imagine; they can see colors we don’t even know exist.

In captivity, however, their environment is usually drab and gray and without the proper lighting will cause vision problems like photophobia (light sensitivity), nystagmus (jerky eye movements) or strabismus (crossed eyes).

Typically, this happens when your chameleon’s eyes become overgrown from not being used to seeing out of them for long periods, or you have low lighting or poor ventilation. When this happens, you can provide your chameleon with the proper lighting and environment it needs to recover its sight. Your veterinarian might prescribe eye medications to help with infection control.”




“The medication that vets usually prescribe is antibiotic eye ointments like Terramycin® Ophthalmic Ointment (manufactured by Pfizer) which is usually used for pinkeye in dogs and cats (caused by bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus).

It’s not safe to use on chameleons because of other types of bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses that can be deadly if introduced into your pet’s eyes. Some veterinarians also recommend using other veterinary medications like Neosporin® (antibiotic ointment with pain reliever), Lotemax® (Loteprednol), or Tobrex® (the more modern version of the drug Tobramycin).

However, these medications are not meant to be used long-term. If your chameleon has an eye infection for more than 7 days it is advised that you consult a veterinarian for medication.”

“One oral antibiotic option is Doxycycline®, which can also treat some types of diarrhea caused by bacteria. Also, avoid using human medications on your chameleon because they may react negatively to certain ingredients in them.”


In Conclusion


“You should clean your chameleon’s eyes every day using fresh baby shampoo and water or a human baby washcloth. First, moisten the cloth/shampoo with water then apply light pressure around your pet’s eyes to get rid of any crust or mucus that may have built up overnight. If there is pus, blood, or other discharges you can use a fresh damp cotton swab to remove them.”



Mike Grover

Mike Grover is the owner of this website (Reptiles and Amphibians), a website dedicated to providing expert care and information for these animals. Mike has been keeping reptiles and amphibians as pets for over 20 years and has extensive knowledge of their care. He currently resides in the United Kindom with his wife and two children. Reptiles and amphibians can make excellent pets, but they require special care to stay healthy and happy. Mike's website provides detailed information on how to care for these animals, including what to feed them, what type of housing they need, and how to maintain their health. Mike's website is a valuable resource for keeping your pet healthy and happy, whether you’re considering adding a reptile or amphibian to your family or you’re already a pet parent.

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