As the proud owner of an exotic reptile like the bearded dragon, you have probably noticed that your beardie will frequently close one of their eyes. This may have you concerned, or at the very least curious, as to why your bearded dragon will close one eye but leave the other eye open.
In most instances, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. However, there is always that small percentage that there could be an underlying issue with your bearded dragon.
Before you rush off to take your bearded dragon to be checked out, let’s discuss some of the reasons for your bearded dragon to close one eye and leave the other eye open.
So, why do bearded dragons close one eye and keep the other eye open? Bearded dragons may do this for a number of reasons, including a stimuli response, dehydration, difficulty with shedding, improper lighting or humidity levels, mites or parasites, or even damage to their eye.
So, as their owner, how are you supposed to know which one is causing this behavior or if it is anything to worry about at all? We will be discussing these reasons and the causes behind them.
If at any point you are worried about the well-being of your bearded dragon, contact your local herp vet to discuss any concerns you may have.
Bearded dragons are greatly affected by their surroundings and will respond appropriately to any kind of instance that has them feeling less than amazing. It is also important to note that sometimes a bearded dragon will just close one eye and leave the other open without anything serious going on with them.
We will also discuss why they sometimes do this and what it means. Bearded dragons are wonderful and beautiful reptiles with incredibly high intelligence and as their owner you just want to make sure they are properly cared for and living their best life.
So, let’s take a peek at the many reasons for your bearded dragon to be exhibiting such an interesting behavior, like closing one eye while the other eye remains open.
Reason 1: Responding To Stimuli
It was briefly mentioned that sometimes bearded dragons will close one eye without any serious underlying issue, let’s discuss what that might be. Bearded dragons will do this when they are trying to get a better focus on something.
Considering that bearded dragons have eyes on either side of their head, they will sometimes close one eye to allow them to focus properly on a specific object, usually their prey, and it is nothing to be concerned about. If you have noticed that they are usually doing this around the time they are fed, then it is most likely your bearded dragon trying to get a better visual on their food.
If they are closing the eye the farthest away from their meal, then it would be a safe bet that they are just trying to focus.
Reason 2: Dehydration
Dehydration can cause an array of issues for your bearded dragon and a pretty common way to tell that your bearded dragon is suffering from dehydration is by looking at their eyes. Your bearded dragon could be closing one eye because of dehydration.
If you suspect dehydration to be the culprit, try pinching their skin; if it bounces back, they are hydrated, if it takes a little bit to go back to normal, they are probably dehydrated. Take note on how much water they have in their dish and if it is clean or not and how much heat and light they are getting and if the lamp is sitting too close.
Fatigue and sunken eyes are a couple more symptoms related to dehydration and should be responded to with the utmost seriousness. Dehydration can prove fatal for any animal, especially your beloved bearded dragon.
Reason 3: Shedding Difficulty
Your bearded dragon will experience at least a couple of times a year, and no matter how many successful sheds they have undergone, there is always that chance they could experience some difficulty at one point or another. If your bearded dragon is leaving one eye closed and they have been going through a shed, take the time to carefully look around the eye for any shed remnants.
If your bearded dragon is having difficulties removing that last bit of shed from around their eye, you can lend them a hand by using a cotton pad that has been soaked in warm water. Once the pad is thoroughly soaked and is at a nice, warm temperature, place the pad on the affected eye and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Once the pad has had ample time to soften the skin around the eye, gently rub the cotton pad off of the eye to help remove the shedding skin. Bearded dragons are like any other reptile and will rub up against objects to remove their shedding skin, so it is important to keep anything sharp out of their enclosure, as it can cause damage to their eyes, which brings us to our next reason for keeping one eye closed and one eye open.
Reason 4: Damage To The Eye
Your bearded dragon could experience damage to their cornea caused by infections, unreasonably bright light, or any sort of random injury. During a bearded dragon’s shed, they will oftentimes rub the full length of their body against something within their enclosure to assist in removing the skin, if you have any sharp or jagged object in their enclosure, they could accidentally injure their eye, causing them to keep one or both eyes closed.
If your bearded dragon’s enclosure contains any loose dirt or substrate, they could easily get some stuck in their eye at any point in time. If you happen to notice your bearded dragon’s eye bulging out of their head, they could be trying to remove the foreign object.
If you suspect something foreign is in your bearded dragon’s eye or that they might have damaged it somehow, you can purchase reptile eye drops to aid in removing the foreign object or even help treat any infection if they have one. Tap water is not recommended to rinse your bearded dragon’s eye as it is most likely not entirely sterile and could cause further infection.
Alternate between an eyewash for reptiles and saline eye rinse until it seems the condition has been resolved. Taking care to ensure there is no loose sand or substrate in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is extremely important.
Turf or some sort of reptile carpet is much more recommended to keep these instances from occurring.
Reason 5: Improper Lighting And/Or Humidity Levels
Proper lighting and humidity is crucial for the health and well-being of your bearded dragon. You may notice your beardie keeping one or both eyes closed often during their daytime hours, if this is something that has caught your attention, it might be a good idea to take a look at their lighting.
If you suspect the lighting as the culprit, try turning their light off for a day or two and see if that helps their eyes, if not, check their humidity levels. The ideal humidity level for a bearded dragon’s habitat is around 30 to 40%.
Too high or too low humidity can throw off your bearded dragon thermoregulation and can even cause different illnesses. Be sure to a large enough soaking or water dish to aid in the humidity levels or even mist any branches or leaves inside their enclosure, careful not to do too much so as to not cause any molding.
Reason 6: Mites Or Parasites
If your bearded dragon spends any of its time outside, it may have contracted mites. Check around their eyes, if you notice any tiny red or black dots, it is most likely mites.
Bearded dragons are also known to have a low amount of parasites residing inside them, but if these parasites reach an unmanageable level, medical intervention will be needed. It is a good idea to seek professional help if you suspect mites or parasites as the cause for your bearded dragon’s strange behavior.
Your local herp vet will be able to discuss with you the proper treatment plan and get your bearded dragon back in top shape and feeling much more like themselves.
From trying to focus on a specific object to creepy crawlies living in or on their skin, bearded dragons will occasionally close one eye and keep one eye open. The most important thing to do if you notice your bearded dragon engaging in this behavior is to pay attention to their surroundings. Are they stalking some prey?
Did they just experience a shed? Are they spending less time under their light source?
Has it been a while since they’ve had any water? These are all important factors to consider when you are trying to discover what could be causing the eye to close.
If at any point you are worried about how to properly care for your bearded dragon or are concerned they could be ill, contact your local herp vet for further diagnosis and treatment plans.