Leopard geckos can be amusing at times.
One of the amusing things that they tend to do is closing or squinting one of their eyes. This can lead many new owners to wonder if there is a problem. So why do leopard geckos only have one eye open sometimes? Usually the reason is as simple as the one below
They’ll keep one eye closed and the other open; especially when there’s too much light in their enclosure. You shouldn’t be alarmed when they close one eye as long as they open both when they need to. If they’ve closed one eye for over a day, there’s probably a shed stuck. Have a vet inspect the squinty eye.
When they’re sleeping and hear movement; they’ll often open only one eye to check out what’s happening; it’s a Leo thing. They’ll be observant for a few seconds before sleeping again. A friend jokes that their Leopard Gecko is “half-asleep” when she does this.
They’ll be squinting and their eyelids may be half closed regardless of what kind of mood they have. This won’t hurt them as long as they are squinting from light or when they’re asleep and hear movement.
Leopard Geckos shedding near eyes, nose, mouth, or face. Shedding around the eyes often causes facial discomfort in the form of a slight sneeze or rattling sounds from their mouths when they open them. They might close one eye when they get irritated at this time
The reasons why your leopard gecko may be closing one eye
They do it all the time
Closing one eye is normal Leopard Gecko behaviour. They’re not in pain or ill. The geckos’ behavior is a good thing as it shows that they’re alert and out looking for food while spending the rest of their time sleeping. That’s ideal Leopard Gecko behavior.
There’s too much light in the tank
Leopard Geckos don’t like bright lights at all so you have to make sure there isn’t too much light in your Leopard Gecko tank. (Giving your Leo the perfect tank setup like this Leo tank on Amazon will really help!)
They are checking the surroundings
They may be looking to see if there are any threats approaching, food, prey etc., That’s why they keep one eye open and one eye closed, so that they can be half asleep and still keep an eye on their surroundings at the same time.
There may be a stuck shed
If there is shed skin stuck on top of your leopard gecko’s eye(s), he/she will try to wipe it off with his/her tongue or claw it off and might keep one eye closed during this process as it could be irritated from this shedding process.
They may have a respiratory infection
If your leopard gecko has a respiratory infection, he/she will close one eye to make room for the swollen glands in their face. This is not common as Leopard Geckos are so healthy and don’t get sick easily, but it’s possible that your Leopard Gecko has such an infection.
Common eye problems in leopard gecko
Leopard Geckos have large round eyes with a black slit that make them cute. However, they may get eye infections especially when they’re in an environment that’s too humid for them. As their human, you should be able to recognise these eye problems that they are prone to.
Foreign objects in their eyes
Leopard Geckos don’t have eyelids. They can’t close their eyes like people do when they go to sleep. And because of this, they are prone to foreign objects and eye infections that can come into the eye and clog up the tear ducts.
Leopard Geckos tend to secrete a clear fluid that helps keep dust and other airborne particles out of the eye. They may develop watery eyes when there’s too much of this fluid.
Eye twitching in leopard geckos is similar to nose bleeds in people. It’s when they’re stressed and feel irritated, or when it’s too humid in their environment. Their eyeballs are very sensitive to irritation. Luckily for leopard geckos, twitching eyes does not mean that your gecko has an eye problem but instead means that they’re feeling stressed or irritated
When a Leopard Gecko is around their sexual maturity period, they may develop swollen eyelids which will cause them to squint and half close their eyes. This will soon go away on its own.
When eye is damaged in any way that prevents it from opening fully and or looking fully the amount of light that enters the eye will cause partial blindness. This is not common in leopard geckos, but it is possible for them to suffer from such a disorder.
If you notice that your leopard gecko has the below eye problems call a vet immediately.
- Foreign objects in the eye
You should never try to remove foreign objects in your leopard gecko’s eye by yourself. You may accidentally cause further damage to their eyes and cause great pain for them. If you see a foreign object stuck on the top of their eyes, put your leopard gecko in a small enclosure and take him/her to visit your vet immediately so that he/she can remove the object without causing more damage to their eyes.
Your leopard gecko’s eyes will often secrete a clear substance. This is not a bad thing, rather it helps keep dust particles out of the eye and acts as a protective layer from other irritants as well. However, if your gecko’s mucus is slightly yellowish in colour or thick in texture that means there may be some serious problems. It could mean that there is some kind of infection in your Leopard Gecko’s eyes. If you notice any of these signs, take him/her to the vet immediately
- Eye twitching
If you think your leopard gecko may be infected with something serious, notice that he/she is twitching on and off, or if he/she has been twitching his/her eye(s) for over 2 weeks; you should bring him/her to the vet immediately for further check-up.
- Swollen eye lids
A leopard gecko might close one of his/her eyes to make room for the swollen glands around their face after they’ve had a respiratory infection. However, if they keep this closed eye without any swelling and /or the eyelid is pink in colour; it could mean that your leopard gecko is suffering from some serious infection and you should take him/her to the vet immediately.
- Partial blindness
If your Leopard Gecko’s eyes are partially open but not full open as they’re supposed to be, this could mean that there is something wrong with his/her eyes or there could be various reasons for this behaviour. You should check if he/she can still see properly by bringing a piece of food in front of him / her and see if he/she tries to eat it. If you notice another problem such as squinting or rubbing his/her head against things in the tank; this could mean that there is an object stuck on top of his/her eye(s) or irritating them in any way.
What to do if your leopard gecko has an eye problem ?
It’s a good idea to get your leopard gecko checked by a vet straight away if you notice any eye problems. This will ensure that your leopard gecko gets the right treatment he/she needs and that it doesn’t get any worse.
If you see any of these signs then don’t panic but contact your vet immediately:
- Difficulty opening one or both eyes (squinting)
- Head tilting when they’re asleep and one eye is closed
- Ear flapping during sleep (possibly because of an ear/eye infection)
- Eye lids are swollen (possibly from an infection or a bacterial infection)
Leopard Geckos do not require much medical care and they’re very healthy. They’re unlikely to get sick but if they do; it’s a good idea to take them to the vet just in case so that you know that they’re getting the right treatment (if there is any).
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.