Why Are My Gecko Eyes Sunken? Here Are The Causes

Paying attention to your gecko’s features can tell you a lot about your reptile’s health. If you notice your gecko eyes sunken, you may be wondering why this is happening.

There are several reasons why a gecko may have sunken eyes. Sometimes sunken eyes are normal, like when it’s sleeping, while others are a sign of a health problem with the eyes. The most common reason for this is dehydration, which should be addressed immediately so it doesn’t lead to further problems for the gecko. 

Do you want to know why your gecko has sunken eyes? You’ve come to the right page. Today, we’re going to discuss the main reasons why this happens. We’ll also cover what you should do when sunken eyes are a sign of a problem with your gecko’s eye health. Keep reading to learn more.

Causes of Gecko Eyes Sunken

As a gecko owner, you likely appreciate all of your reptile’s unique features. This is why is can be a cause for concern when you notice that your gecko’s eyes don’t quite look right. One thing several reptile owners have noticed is sunken eyes on their gecko. 

There are quite a few things that can cause a gecko’s eyes to appear sunken. To take some worry off of your shoulders, some of the reasons why this happens are completely normal. However, as a gecko owner, it’s important to know all of the reasons in case your gecko needs medical attention.

When Gecko Eyes Sunken Is Normal

There are times when it’s normal to notice your gecko has sunken eyes, such as when it’s eating or sleeping.

An interesting fact about geckos (and other geckos) is that they don’t have eyelids. This means that the gecko isn’t able to close its eyes. However, a gecko won’t sleep with its eyes in the same position that they would be if it was awake. If it did, it would be able to see everything that was happening around them and it wouldn’t get a proper sleep.

When a gecko is sleeping, its eyeballs will sink into its sockets. This way, the gecko won’t be disturbed by any lights or movements around it. Its eyes will also be protected from debris and anything else that could irritate them. 

If you have recently changed the lighting, you may notice your gecko has sunken eyes. This is a sign that it doesn’t like the new lighting. You may notice the gecko opens its eyes if you switch back to the original lighting. 

When Gecko Eyes Sunken Is a Sign Of Sickness 

If your gecko has sunken eyes when it’s awake, it could be a sign that the gecko is dehydrated, has a retained eye cap, or is suffering from metabolic bone disease. 

The main reason that a gecko has sunken eyes while it’s awake is because of dehydration. This is something you should monitor because dehydration could lead to other problems, such as difficulties shedding, constipation, and loss of skin elasity, just to name a few. Keeping your gecko hydrated involves keeping a full water bowl, maintaining the tank’s humidity levels, and a temperature range of 72 F to 75 F. 

Another reason your gecko may have sunken eyes is due to a retained eye cap. This is when the skin around the eye becomes fused and doesn’t shed with the rest of the skin. However, what can be more concerning for reptile owners is if their gecko has metabolic bone disease. This can be caused by improper vitamin and mineral balance, leading the gecko to become very weak. 

What To Do If I Suspect Sickness In My Gecko?

If you suspect that your gecko has sunken eyes due to metabolic bone disease, you will need to change its diet. This is caused because the reptile is not getting enough nutrients to the bones. Usually it’s a result of too much phosphorus or not enough calcium and vitamin D3. 

For gecko owners that believe their reptile has sunken eyes due to a retained eye cap, you will need to treat it similar as you would if the gecko was dehydrated. Making sure the geck has increased humidity is very important to loosen any stuck on skin. It’s also important that they have a clean and sanitized tank.

Will They Heal By Themselves?

You will need to tend to your gecko if it has sunken eyes due to illness. If caught early enough, you can get a gecko to recover from dehydration on its own by making sure it has the right conditions in its tank. The right humidity level with regular misting is very important.

If your gecko has a retained eye cap, you may be able to help by placing the gecko in water that is the same temperature as the tank. Make sure the water is chin level, and allow the gecko to soak for roughly 30 minutes. This will help to loosen the stuck skin so you can manually remove it for the gecko.

Should I Take Them To The Vet?

If you believe that sunken eyes are caused by metabolic bone disease or you are unsure of what could be causing the sunken eyes, we recommend making an appointment with the vet. This way, you will get the best advice and the vet can perform a thorough wellness exam.

A qualified vet will also be able to advise you on the best diet for your gecko so it consumes all the needed nutrients to remain healthy.

Will They Be Okay?

One of the great things about geckos (and other reptiles) is that they are amazing healers. If a gecko’s metabolic bone disease (or other health issues) are detected and treated early enough, they have a good chance to have a successful recovery. 

Final Thoughts

Why are my gecko’s eyes sunken? Geckos don’t have eyelids, so if they need to close their eyes, they will sink them into the sockets instead. This is common to see when the gecko is eating or sleeping.

However, sunken eyes can also be a sign of a health problem, such as dehydration, retained eye cap, or metabolic bone disease.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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