Bearded Dragon Eye Bulging: Is It Normal or Cause for Concern?

Eye bulging in reptiles isn’t always a sign of illness – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to it either way.

After all, your scaly pal depends on you to keep them healthy and happy!

With the right knowledge under your belt, you’ll have no trouble spotting any signs of distress before they become potentially fatal problems.

08/03/2023 – Research Overview

Bearded dragon eye bulging is a normal behavior, often associated with shedding. It can also be related to itchy eyes, yawning, or high blood pressure. If accompanied by other signs such as weakness or lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in coloration, it may be cause for concern and warrant a visit to the vet.

I’m here to equip you with the information needed to do just that – so read on and find out everything you need to know about bearded dragon eye bulging!

What Does It Look Like When Bearded Dragons Bulge Their Eyes?

When a bearded dragon feels threatened or startled, its eyes bulge. In order to warn other animals nearby, these beardies’ eyelids pull back, exposing more of the eyeball, making it appear larger than it actually is. Moreover, this behavior serves as a warning sign.

By bulging their eyes outwards, they are able to take in more information from their surroundings—which helps them detect potential predators quickly.

Bearded dragons have evolved this reflexive action over millions of years, giving them a better chance at survival in their native environments.

However, It’s important to note that eye bulging can sometimes indicate a health issue. If your lizard’s eyes are swollen or enlarged even though there is no perceived danger, then call your vet right away and have them checked out.

Signs and Symptoms

The following signs and symptoms may indicate that a bearded dragon is experiencing eye bulging:

Bulging of the eye

The eyes may appear larger than normal and may bulge out of the socket.

Cloudy or opaque eye

The eyes may appear hazy or opaque, which can indicate inflammation or infection.

Loss of appetite

Bearded dragons with eye-bulging may lose their appetite, which can lead to weight loss.


Bearded dragons may become lethargic and spend more time sleeping or inactive than usual.

Swelling around the eye

Swelling or redness around the eyes can indicate inflammation or infection.

Discharge from the eye

Bearded dragons may have discharge or mucus coming from the eyes.

Bearded dragons’ common eye bulging causes

Eye bulging in bearded dragons can be a common occurrence, but it can also be a sign of an underlying health issue.

As a responsible bearded dragon owner, it is important to be aware of the common causes of eye bulging in these reptiles.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why bearded dragons experience eye bulging and what you can do to prevent and treat this condition.


Bearded dragons shed their skin regularly, which can cause irritation around their eyes. As the skin around their eyes becomes itchy, bearded dragons may rub their eyes against surfaces, leading to eye bulging.

Shedding can be prevented by providing proper humidity levels in their habitat and offering a shallow water dish for soaking.


Bearded dragons may yawn as a way of regulating their body temperature. However, yawning excessively or forcefully can cause their eyes to bulge out.

Ensure that your bearded dragon’s habitat has an appropriate temperature gradient to prevent excessive yawning.

Changes in Blood Pressure

Sudden changes in blood pressure can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons. This can be caused by stress or excitement, such as when handling or transporting your bearded dragon.

It is recommended to handle your bearded dragon gently and avoid sudden movements to prevent eye bulging due to changes in blood pressure.

Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes in bearded dragons can be caused by environmental irritants, such as dust or other debris. Allergies and bacterial or fungal infections can also cause itchy eyes.

Keep their habitat clean and free of irritants and seek veterinary care if necessary.


Dehydration can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons, as it can lead to dryness and irritation around the eyes.

Ensure that your bearded dragon has access to clean water at all times and offer them fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain their hydration levels.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons, as well as other symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.

These infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses and should be treated by a veterinarian.


Internal and external parasites can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons. These parasites can cause irritation and inflammation in the eyes and other areas of the body.

Regular veterinary check-ups and parasite prevention measures can help prevent this.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons, as well as other symptoms such as skin and respiratory problems.

Ensure that your bearded dragon is receiving a balanced and varied diet that includes vitamin A-rich foods such as leafy greens and carrots.

Eye Injuries

Eye injuries can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons.

This can be caused by rough handling, fighting with other bearded dragons, or environmental factors such as sharp objects in their habitat.


Tumors can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons. These growths can be benign or malignant and can cause other symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite.

If you notice any unusual growths on your bearded dragon, seek veterinary care immediately.

Dental Problems

Dental problems can cause eye bulging in bearded dragons. This can occur when the roots of the teeth become infected, leading to inflammation and swelling around the eyes.

Providing proper dental care, such as offering appropriate foods to maintain tooth health, can help prevent dental issues.

Head Trauma

In bearded dragons, head trauma can cause eye bulging and bleeding from the mouth or nose. This can occur due to falls or other accidents.

Genetic Predisposition

It is possible that some bearded dragons may be genetically predisposed to bulge eyes. This can occur due to genetic mutations that affect the eye structure.

Are Baby Bearded Dragons Bulging Their Eyes for a Reason?

Baby bearded dragons bulge their eyes for the same reasons as adults, which include helping with the shedding process, increasing blood pressure, and being tired or hungry. Another theory is that it is related to high blood pressure. Scientists also believe that it may be due to shedding.

Stress can also cause an increase in hormone production which triggers swelling of the eye area as well.

Infections like conjunctivitis or injuries such as scratches on the cornea can result in inflammation of the tissue around the eye causing it to swell up too.

In some cases, simply increasing humidity levels or providing more water may be sufficient but if there are underlying issues then professional help should be sought immediately.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Bulge One Eye?

The most common cause of bulging one eye in bearded dragons is stress or fear. Bearded dragons can puff up their beards in response to stress and fear, causing one eye to bulge out. Infection, injury, or abscesses in the eye can also cause this condition.

Whenever your bearded dragon has one eye bulging, you should first determine what might have caused it. After narrowing down the possible causes, you can address each one individually.

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Bulge Their Eyes For?

Bearded dragons can bulge their eyes for a variety of reasons, and the length of time depends on what’s causing it, usually, they bulge their eye for like an hour.

In short, how long your bearded dragon bulges their eyes depends on what is causing it. It could last just a couple of minutes during territorial displays or several days if caused by illness or stress-related issues.

Is It Unhealthy For My Bearded Dragon To Bulge Out Their Eyes?

What a conundrum! Not only is it slightly alarming to witness your beloved pet’s eyes bulging out, but you may also be left wondering if this behavior is unhealthy for them.

The answer might surprise you – and ironically, the occasional eye-bulging can actually be beneficial for bearded dragons.

Most of the time, bearded dragons bulge their eyes as a response to stress or fear. This usually happens when there is an alarming change in the environment; these could include loud noises, bright lights, or sudden movements from yourself or another animal in their vicinity.

In some rare cases though, this behavior can indicate an underlying health issue such as respiratory illness or injury to the eye itself.

To figure out whether or not your dragon’s eye-bulging is something to get concerned about, you should observe how long they do it. If they continue to bulge their eyes for more than 10 minutes – then you should take them to see a vet just in case something else is going on.

Otherwise, however, don’t worry too much about it!

As mentioned earlier, occasionally popping those peepers out can help with vision enhancement so your scaly friend may even enjoy doing it from time to time.

Treatment of Eye Bulging in Bearded Dragons

eye bulging treatment bearded dragon
Source: stockphoto+Azman Jaka

The treatment of eye bulging in bearded dragons depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Some possible treatments include:

Nutritional changes

If the cause of eye bulging is a nutritional deficiency, changes to the bearded dragon’s diet may be necessary. Your veterinarian may recommend adding specific supplements or feeding a different variety of insects, vegetables, and fruits.


If the cause of eye bulging is an infection, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications. Eye drops or ointments may also be recommended to reduce inflammation and swelling.


In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct eye bulging. This is typically only considered if the condition is severe or if the bearded dragon is at risk of losing their eye.

Home care

Bearded dragon owners can also provide some home care to help treat eye bulging.

This may include cleaning the eye with a saline solution or providing a humid hide to promote healing and reduce inflammation.

Prevention of Eye Bulging in Bearded Dragons

Prevention is key when it comes to eye bulging in bearded dragons. Some steps that can be taken to prevent this condition include:

Proper diet

Providing a balanced diet that includes the necessary vitamins and minerals is crucial for the overall health of bearded dragons, including their eyes.

Clean environment

Keeping the bearded dragon’s enclosure clean and hygienic can help prevent the spread of infections and parasites.

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch any health issues early on and prevent them from becoming more serious.

Avoiding trauma

Bearded dragons should be handled gently and kept in enclosures that are free from sharp objects or hazards that could cause injury.


In conclusion, bearded dragons bulging their eyes can be a bit of an alarming sight for any reptile enthusiast. It’s important to remember that this is a normal behavior in many cases and not something to worry about.

However, if your beardie has been bulging its eyes for more than 24 hours or seems to have difficulty closing them then it may be time to consult with a veterinarian.

With proper care and attention, your pet will remain healthy and happy for years to come!