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Common eye disorders in birds

www.PetMD.com, the largest global source of pet health information, is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

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. 

Causes

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. 

Treatment

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

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.

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