Swollen Eyes in Aquatic Turtles

Tortoises & Turtles

Baby red-eared sliders are often sold on the side of the road, at swap meets, and in other ways that can negatively affect their health.  These tiny turtles have sometimes been kept in unhealthy situations between the time they hatched and when they finally ended up in your hands. They may have become too cold, too warm, or overly stressed.  As a result, many of these baby turtles become sick within a month or so of being purchased even if you do everything right!

Many of these baby red-eared sliders develop eye problems.  Some may simply be unable to open one or both eyes.  Others squint a lot.  One of both eyes may start to swell and eventually puff up like a water balloon.  A red-eared slider showing any of these signs should be taken to a veterinarian as it is likely they have a vitamin A deficiency and even an infection.

While you are waiting to get to the veterinarian, please warm the water temperature to 80 to 85F.  Make sure the basking spot has a nice white spotlight that heats the area to 90-95F for 12 hrs a day.  Put an ultraviolet-B emitting bulb, such as a Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 or a Powersun, over the enclosure and make sure it is on for at least 8 hrs a day.  Feed a good quality pellet designed for aquatic turtles and insects (pieces of earthworms).  Fresh green leafy produce and occasional chopped whole fish round out a good diet.