Common eye disorders in birds

Avian Eye Disorders

Birds can suffer from many different eye disorders. They can be due to an eye injury, or possibly an infection to the area. Occasionally, eye disorders are symptoms of another underlying medical problem. Therefore, if your bird has an eye problem, it should be considered serious and you should consult a veterinarian to rule out any major internal disease.

Parrot Eye

Symptom and Types

Conjunctivitis, a common eye disorder, is usually caused by bacteria and can be identified as red and swollen eyelids, and may lead to photosensitivity (avoidance of light) in the bird. Conjunctivitis is also a symptom of many other medical problems, including respiratory infections.

Uveitis causes an inflammation of the inner parts of the eye. However, it is commonly associated with symptoms of other internal diseases in the bird. This particular disorder needs to be treated quickly to avoid cataracts from forming.

Cataracts develop in the bird's eye when there is a deficiency in vitamin E, an infection with encephalomyelitis, or even from continuous exposure to some artificial lights.

Marek's disease is a particular type of eye disorder that is caused by a viral infection. This medical condition can lead to irregularly shaped pupils, iris problems blindness, and can progress into cancer. Vaccination can prevent this eye disorder from occurring. However, a bird that is already infected with the virus, cannot be cured.

Avian Pox is another eye disorder which is found in birds, and is due to a viral infection. Though it is a generalized disease, the eye symptoms include swelling of the eyelids with blister-like formations, and partial or total loss of vision. However, the eyeball is not affected by the infection and the vision usually returns after the infection is treated. 


Many eye disorders are caused by bacterial infections (i.e., salmonella). This particular bacteria causes both conjunctivitis and ophthalmitis -- inflammation with pus in the eyeball and conjunctiva -- and possible blindness. In addition, salmonella is contagious and often spread from parent to your bird, or genetically through the egg yolk.

Fungal infections of the eye can also lead to bird eye disorders, usually because of moldy feed. One common fungi, Aspergillus, infects the bird's respiratory system, but can also affect brain and eyes. The infected eye will show yellow plaques under the eyelid. The eye will also have inflammation, and if left untreated, this infection can result in severe eye damage.

Vitamin deficiency is another cause of eye disorders in birds. For instance, a deficiency in vitamin E in the parent can lead to the birth of a blind chick. And vitamin A is required for proper pigmentation and tearing of the eyes. To prevent such deficiencies, give your bird commercial feed. 


If your bird show signs of discomfort or symptoms of any eye disorder -- such as the eyes close, swell, become red, discharge a substance, or blink more than usual -- be sure to get the bird checked by the veterinarian for immediate treatment. Antibiotic eye drops or other medicines can help in dealing with the eye disorder at an early stage. 


Prevention of certain types of eye disorders are dependent on the symptoms found in the bird. But, timely medical intervention can save the bird from suffering, as well as any serious eye damage.


Comments on "Common eye disorders in birds"

Donna March 17, 2014 | 10:47 AM

How do I treat an eye infection in my female Blue Slate turkey. No other birds are affected.

damien April 08, 2012 | 7:14 AM

how can i treat an eye infection in a turkey

Linda August 09, 2011 | 7:30 AM

The area around both eyes of my cousin's parakeet is extremely inflammed, he can still blink his eyelids and seems to see okay but the vet has not idea what is wrong, would you have any ideas?

Sharon Wong March 14, 2010 | 6:26 PM

Dear Sir, My budgie has been progressively losing vision for a few months. I could judge that it was losing vision because it always keeps stretching its neck and expanding its pupils to 'search' for sights. And, sometime it would even shiver its wings...I dont know why it's so, but months ago I remember I kept feeding it with quite a big amount of Vitamin A supplement powder and solely giving it with millet as meal. Dont know if this is a reason leading to over-dosing of Vitamin A but deficiency in Vitamin B?? Weeks ago, I took it to a vet in HK and the vet gave it an injection of saline water to wash out the toxic in its body. Funny as it was, its eyes seemed to re-gain vision and everything turned better, except it started to have diaherra. However, since last Monday, its eyes have seemed to lose vision again! And up to this morning, it seemed to lose vision completely...please help it...please tell me what I can do to help...Would an increased supply of Vitamin B help it? Thank you.

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