Bearded Dragon Sunken Eyes Whats Normal and Whats Not

Bearded Dragon Sunken Eyes: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Bearded dragon sunken eyes can be a cause for concern among reptile enthusiasts and owners. While these creatures are known for their unique appearance and docile nature, it is important to be aware of potential health issues that may arise. One such issue is the condition of sunken eyes in bearded dragons.

A bearded dragon’s eyes are typically bright, clear, and slightly bulged, indicating good health. However, when the eyes appear sunken in, it is often a sign that the lizard is dehydrated or may be suffering from a medical condition.

Dehydration can occur if the bearded dragon is not receiving enough fluids or if there is an underlying health issue affecting its ability to retain moisture.

Other symptoms such as lack of appetite, lethargy, and weight loss may accompany sunken eyes, further emphasizing the need for prompt attention to bearded dragon eye problems.

Normal Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons

4826- Kayla (sinuses profile)
Credit: Rainbow Heron

Normal sunken eyes in bearded dragons can be a cause for concern among owners. However, if the eyes are slightly sunken, bright, and clear, and the lizard is healthy and active, it is likely that there is no need to worry.

In bearded dragons, slight eye sinking can be a natural occurrence due to dehydration or shedding. It is important to ensure that the lizard has access to clean water and a proper diet to prevent dehydration.

If there are no other symptoms present, such as weight loss or lethargy, it is best to monitor the lizard closely and consult a veterinarian if any concerns arise.

Eyes Slightly Sunken

In some cases, bearded dragons may have slightly sunken eyes, which can be considered normal. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as dehydration, stress, or even the dragon’s natural anatomy.

It is essential to monitor the severity of the sunken appearance and look for other accompanying symptoms.

Here are some key characteristics of normal sunken eyes in bearded dragons:

  • Slight sunken appearance: The eyes may appear slightly recessed, but not excessively so.
  • Bright and clear: Despite the slight sunken appearance, the eyes should still be bright and clear, without any cloudiness or discharge.
  • Regular blinking: Normal sunken eyes in bearded dragons still blink at regular intervals. A lack of blinking or excessive blinking can be a sign of an issue.
  • Smooth scaling: The scales around the eyes should be smooth and even. Any irregularities in the scales, such as flaking or discoloration, may be a cause for concern.
  • Symmetrical appearance: Both eyes should have the same degree of sinking. If one eye appears more sunken than the other, this could indicate a health problem.
  • Normal behavior: Despite the slight sinking of the eyes, your bearded dragon should behave normally. This includes regular eating, sleeping, and basking behaviors.
  • No swelling or redness: There shouldn’t be any inflammation around the eye area. Redness, swelling, or visible discomfort can be signs of an infection or other health issue.
  • Regular eye movement: The dragon should be able to move its eyes normally, tracking movement in its environment and reacting appropriately.

Bright and Clear

Credit: Victoria Imeson

The bearded dragon’s eyes, although slightly sunken, exhibit remarkable brightness and clarity. When observing a healthy bearded dragon, one may notice that despite the subtle indentation around the eyes, they appear vibrant and alert. The eyes reflect a distinct shine, indicating a well-hydrated and nourished reptile.

To further assess the dragon’s ocular health, it is important to consider the absence of any abnormalities or discharge. A bright and clear eye is free from any cloudiness, redness, or unusual secretions.

When examining a bearded dragon, the bright and clear condition of its eyes signifies optimal vision and overall wellness.

Lizard Healthy

When it comes to sunken eyes in bearded dragons, it is important to assess the overall health of the lizard. If the eyes are only slightly sunken in and the lizard is otherwise healthy, it is likely that this is a normal occurrence.

A healthy bearded dragon will have bright and clear eyes, indicating good hydration and overall well-being. Additionally, an active lizard with no other symptoms of illness or distress further supports the notion that the sunken eyes are within the range of normal.

To ensure the lizard’s continued health, it is crucial to provide a suitable habitat with proper temperature and humidity levels. A balanced diet consisting of a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, and insects is also essential.

Abnormal Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons

Abnormal sunken eyes in bearded dragons can be attributed to various causes. Dehydration is a common factor that can lead to sunken eyes. When a bearded dragon does not have enough water, it can cause the eyes to appear sunken and dull.

Nutritional deficiencies can also play a role, as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals can affect overall eye health. Additionally, eye infections can impact the appearance of the eyes, causing them to become inflamed and sunken.

Causes of Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons

Abnormal sunken eyes in bearded dragons can be a cause for concern and may indicate an underlying health issue. There are several potential causes for this condition, including:

  • Dehydration: One of the most common causes of sunken eyes in bearded dragons is dehydration. When a bearded dragon lacks sufficient water intake, it can lead to a decrease in moisture levels throughout the body, including the eyes. This can result in a sunken appearance.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Another possible cause of sunken eyes is nutritional deficiencies. Bearded dragons require a balanced diet to thrive, and a lack of essential nutrients such as vitamin A or calcium can lead to various health problems, including sunken eyes.

Abnormal sunken eyes in bearded dragons: Dehydration and its connection

Dehydration is a common cause of sunken eyes in bearded dragons. These reptiles require a proper hydration balance to maintain their overall health, including the moisture levels in their eyes.

When they become dehydrated, their body starts to conserve water, leading to various symptoms, including sunken eyes.

Dehydration can occur due to several reasons, such as inadequate water intake, lack of access to clean water, or underlying health issues. Here are some of the key factors contributing to dehydration in bearded dragons:

  • Inadequate water source: Bearded dragons may not drink enough water if their water dish is not easily accessible, or if it is not regularly refilled with fresh water.

Abnormal sunken eyes in bearded dragons: Nutritional deficiencies leading to sunken eyes

Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to the development of sunken eyes in bearded dragons.

These deficiencies occur when the reptile’s diet lacks essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that are crucial for maintaining healthy eye function.

Here are some key points to consider regarding nutritional deficiencies and their impact on eye health:

  • Lack of vitamin A: A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to a condition called hypovitaminosis A, which can cause sunken eyes in bearded dragons. Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the eyes and preventing dryness and corneal ulcers.
  • Insufficient vitamin E: Vitamin E is another crucial nutrient for eye health. A lack of vitamin E can result in eye disorders in bearded dragons such as cloudy eyes, poor vision, and even blindness.
  • Zinc deficiency: Zinc is important for maintaining the health of the eye’s retina. A deficiency in this mineral can lead to poor night vision and possible eye infections.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids scarcity: These essential fatty acids help support the health of the eye’s retina and overall vision. Insufficient levels can lead to dry eyes and other ocular issues.
  • Lack of vitamin B complex: The B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B12 (cobalamin), play a significant role in maintaining healthy vision. A deficiency can lead to problems such as optic neuropathy and abnormal eye movements.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D3 imbalance: Both of these nutrients are necessary for good health in bearded dragons, but imbalances can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which can manifest in the eyes as sunken appearance due to overall poor health and malnutrition.
  • Lastly, it’s worth noting that an excess of certain vitamins and minerals can also cause health problems. For instance, vitamin A toxicity can occur if a bearded dragon is given too much vitamin A. This can also result in eye swelling and potentially other health complications. So, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet to your bearded dragon.

What Causes Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons?

Sunken eyes in bearded dragons can be caused by a variety of factors. Dehydration is a common cause, as insufficient water intake can lead to sunken and dull eyes. Medical conditions such as eye infections or respiratory diseases can also contribute to this issue.

Weight loss and malnutrition can result in sunken eyes as well, as the lack of essential nutrients affects the overall health of the bearded dragon. Lastly, environmental factors like improper temperature and humidity levels can lead to dehydration and subsequently, sunken eyes. Proper care, hydration, and a balanced diet are crucial in preventing this condition.


Dehydration is one of the primary factors that can lead to sunken eyes in bearded dragons. Bearded dragons are highly susceptible to dehydration, and when they do not have enough water in their system, it can result in various health issues, including sunken eyes.

This occurs because the lack of hydration causes the fat pads around the eyes to shrink, giving the appearance of sunken eyes.

There are several reasons why bearded dragons might become dehydrated. Insufficient water intake is one common cause, which can happen if the dragon is not provided with enough water or if their water source is not easily accessible.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions can also be a potential cause of sunken eyes in bearded dragons. These conditions can range from minor infections to more serious illnesses. If your bearded dragon is experiencing sunken eyes, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to identify and address any underlying medical issues.

Some medical conditions that may lead to sunken eyes in bearded dragons include:

  • Respiratory infections: Respiratory infections can cause dehydration, leading to sunken eyes.
  • Parasitic infections: Parasites can cause weight loss and malnutrition, which can result in sunken eyes.
  • Eye infections: Infections in the eyes can directly affect the appearance and health of the eyes, causing them to appear sunken.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is another common cause of sunken eyes in bearded dragons. When a bearded dragon loses a significant amount of weight, it can lead to a sunken appearance around the eyes.

Weight loss can occur due to various reasons, such as inadequate nutrition, illness, or improper husbandry practices.

Treatment for Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons

Treatment for sunken eyes in bearded dragons is crucial to their overall health and well-being. Hydration plays a vital role in combating sunken eyes, as it helps replenish lost fluids and restore moisture to the eyes.

Additionally, dietary changes can greatly improve the condition of sunken eyes by incorporating foods with high water content. In some cases, supplements may be recommended to provide essential nutrients. Signs and symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, and decreased appetite indicate the need for medical treatment.

Treatment for sunken eyes: Importance of hydration

Hydration plays a crucial role in the treatment of sunken eyes in bearded dragons. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining their overall health and well-being. Dehydration can worsen the condition and lead to further complications.

To ensure adequate hydration, water should be readily available for the bearded dragon at all times. It is important to use a shallow dish that allows them to drink easily, as bearded dragons are not good swimmers. Additionally, regular misting of their enclosure helps to increase humidity and aids in hydration through their skin.

Treatment for Sunken Eyes: Dietary Changes

To improve the condition of sunken eyes in bearded dragons, dietary changes are essential.

Providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet is crucial in restoring their health and vitality. Here are some recommendations:

  • Increase Water Intake: Dehydration is often a contributing factor to sunken eyes. Ensure a constant and fresh supply of water in their enclosure. Consider using a shallow dish or a dropper to encourage drinking.
  • Offer Moist Foods: Incorporate moist foods such as fruits and vegetables into their diet. These foods not only provide hydration but also contain essential vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens like kale and collard greens are particularly beneficial.
  • Inclusion of Vitamin A Rich Foods: Foods rich in vitamin A like sweet potato, carrots, and peas can help in combating vitamin A deficiency. Remember, feeding too much can lead to vitamin A toxicity, so keep the amount balanced.
  • Add Foods High in Vitamin E: Foods such as spinach, turnip greens, and butternut squash are high in vitamin E and should be included in your bearded dragon’s diet.
  • Ensure Adequate Zinc Intake: Provide your dragon with zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, but note that these should be given as part of a balanced diet and not as the primary food source.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Flaxseeds and walnuts are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate these into your dragon’s diet but in small quantities as they are high in fat.
  • Supplement with Vitamin B Complex: Although bearded dragons usually get enough B vitamins from their diet, supplementation can be considered, especially if they are suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Always consult with your vet before starting any supplementation regimen.
  • Feed Calcium and Vitamin D3 Supplemented Insects: Feeding your dragon insects like crickets, mealworms, or roaches that have been ‘gut loaded’ with a calcium and Vitamin D3 supplement can help prevent Metabolic Bone Disease.

Ensuring proper nutrition is crucial for bearded dragons with sunken eyes. In addition to a balanced diet, supplements can play a vital role in improving their condition.

Here are some recommended supplements that can help:

  • Calcium supplements: Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and preventing metabolic bone disease. It is recommended to use a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D3 to aid in its absorption.
    • Calcium carbonate: This supplement can be dusted on the dragon’s food or mixed with water and administered orally.
    • Calcium gluconate: This liquid supplement can be added to the dragon’s drinking water.
  • Vitamin A Supplements: As discussed, a deficiency in Vitamin A can cause eye problems in bearded dragons. A supplement can be used, but always under the guidance of a vet, as too much vitamin A can lead to toxicity.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Multivitamins: These are an excellent way to ensure your dragon is receiving a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. Use as directed by the manufacturer or your veterinarian.
  • Omega-3 Supplements: These can be given to enhance eye health and overall vitality. Look for a supplement specifically formulated for reptiles.
  • Zinc Supplements: If the diet isn’t providing enough zinc, a supplement can be beneficial. Again, this should be done under the supervision of a vet to prevent overdosing.
  • Probiotics: While not a direct supplement for eye health, probiotics can improve overall gut health and nutrient absorption, indirectly benefiting all aspects of health, including eyes.

Preventing Sunken Eyes in Bearded Dragons

Preventing sunken eyes in bearded dragons requires a comprehensive approach to their care. Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining their overall health and preventing sunken eyes. Ensuring that they have access to clean water at all times is essential.

Recognizing the signs of dehydration is equally important, such as sunken eyes, dry skin, and loss of appetite, and addressing them promptly by providing extra hydration and seeking veterinary care if necessary. A balanced and nutritious diet is also crucial, as it provides the necessary vitamins and minerals for healthy eyes.

Importance of Hydration in Preventing Sunken Eyes

Preventing sunken eyes in bearded dragons is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Building on the previous section’s focus on treatment, it’s essential to understand the importance of hydration in preventing sunken eyes.

Proper hydration is key to maintaining the moisture levels in a bearded dragon’s body, which helps prevent the onset of dehydration and its associated symptoms.

To ensure adequate hydration for your bearded dragon, follow these guidelines:

  • Provide fresh, clean water: Make sure to offer fresh water daily in a shallow dish that your bearded dragon can easily access. This will encourage them to drink and stay hydrated.
  • Mist the enclosure: Regularly misting the enclosure will help maintain the humidity levels, preventing the bearded dragon from becoming dehydrated.

Recognizing Signs of Dehydration and Addressing Them Promptly

One of the key aspects of preventing sunken eyes in bearded dragons is ensuring proper hydration. Dehydration can lead to a myriad of health issues, including sunken eyes. As responsible reptile owners, it is crucial to be vigilant and recognize the signs of dehydration in our bearded dragons. Some common indicators include:

  • Loss of skin elasticity: When gently pulling on the skin, it should quickly return to its original position. If it takes longer or remains in a wrinkled state, it may be a sign of dehydration.
  • Sunken eyes: If the eyes appear sunken or smaller than usual, it could be due to dehydration.

Ensuring a Balanced and Nutritious Diet for Bearded Dragons

Ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet for bearded dragons is crucial in preventing sunken eyes and maintaining their overall health. Providing a well-rounded diet that meets their nutritional needs is essential for these reptiles.

A balanced diet for bearded dragons should include:

  • Vegetables: Offer a variety of leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens. These provide essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Fruits: Introduce fruits like berries, melons, and papaya in moderation. They are a good source of hydration and natural sugars.
  • Insects: Feed them a selection of insects like crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. These provide protein and essential nutrients.
  • Calcium-rich Foods: Foods such as turnip greens, collard greens, and dandelion leaves are high in calcium, which is essential for bone health in bearded dragons.
  • Vitamin-Rich Foods: Orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins such as vitamin A, which is vital for eye health.
  • Omega-3 Rich Foods: Incorporate a small amount of flaxseeds or walnuts into their diet to supply essential fatty acids.
  • Supplements: Use supplements such as calcium and multivitamin powders. Dust these onto the insects before feeding or as advised by your vet.
  • Water: While bearded dragons get much of their water from their food, it’s important to still provide a shallow dish of clean water. They may not drink often, but it should always be available.
  • Dietary Variety: Offering a variety of food ensures your bearded dragon gets a wide range of nutrients. Rotate the types of greens, vegetables, fruits, and insects you offer to keep their diet balanced and interesting.
  • Appropriate Food Size: Feed your dragon pieces that are no larger than the space between their eyes. Larger pieces can cause choking or digestive issues.

Lastly, remember that the dietary needs of a bearded dragon can change based on age, health, and activity level.

Juvenile dragons, for instance, need a higher proportion of insects (for protein) in their diet compared to adults, who need more plant matter.

Always consult with a vet or a reputable care guide to ensure your bearded dragon’s diet is appropriate for their life stage and overall health.


In conclusion, bearded dragons’ sunken eyes can be a cause for concern for reptile owners. While it is normal for bearded dragons to have slightly sunken eyes during the shedding process, abnormal sunken eyes can indicate underlying health issues.

It is important for owners to be aware of the symptoms and causes of sunken eyes in bearded dragons in order to provide proper care and treatment.

Regular eye care is crucial to maintain the overall eye health of bearded dragons. Providing a proper diet, hydration, and lighting can go a long way in preventing sunken eyes. Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups can help detect any early signs of eye problems and provide timely treatment.