GuideInformation on eye diseases
Target groupCrows, other birds
AuthorJohanna Nydén &

Birds can suffer from many different eye diseases just like us humans. They may be due to an eye injury, or possibly an infection in the eye area itself. Eye diseases can be symptoms of another underlying medical problem, which is why it is so important to see a veterinarian as soon as you see eye problems in birds. The first indication that the bird has a problem with its eyes is that the bird rubs one side of its head against a branch or tree more often than usual.

Eye infections  are most often caused by bacteria and the symptoms are red and swollen eyelids, and can lead to photosensitivity (avoidance of light) in the bird. Eye inflammation is also a symptom of many other medical problems, including respiratory infections. Since the eyes are connected to the nasal cavity via the tear duct, infectious substances in the nasal cavity can penetrate the ocular mucosa and cause problems.
Many eye diseases are caused by bacterial infections, i.e. salmonella. This particular bacterium causes both conjunctivitis (infection of the conjunctival skin of the eye) and ophthalmitis (eye inflammation) with wart formation in the eyeball and conjunctiva – and eventual blindness. In addition, salmonella is contagious and is often spread from parent to young or genetically through the yolk.

Uveitis  is caused by an inflammation of the inner parts of the eye. This disease is usually associated with symptoms of other internal diseases in the bird. This particular disease must be treated quickly to avoid cataract formation.

Cataracts  develop in the bird when there is a lack of vitamin E, intermittent continuous exposure to certain artificial light, but can also be an infection with encephalomyelitis (chronic and severely disabling neuroimmunological – possibly autoimmune – disease, which, among other things, involves major disturbances in the central nervous system and the immune system, and which causes the body to not be able to produce enough energy quickly enough to replace the energy that is consumed. affects almost all aspects of the body such as the nervous system, the immune system, the hormonal system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system , muscles, bones and stomach and intestines )

Marek’s disease  is a special type of eye disease caused by a viral infection. This disease can lead to irregularly shaped pupils, iris problems, blindness, and can develop into cancer. Vaccination can prevent this eye disease from occurring. But a bird that is already infected with the virus cannot be cured, the virus cannot be treated, but the body itself has to figure out how to get rid of the virus and what we can do is to raise the immune system.

Avian Pox  This disease is a viral infection. Eye symptoms of this disease are swelling of the eyelids with blister-like formations, and can cause total loss of vision. However, the eyeball is not affected by the infection and usually returns after the infection is treated. Here, too, it is important to support the immune system.

Fungal infections  in the eye can also lead to eye diseases in birds, usually due to moldy or poor quality feed. A common fungus is Aspergillus which infects the bird’s respiratory system, but can also affect the brain and eyes. Fungal infected eyes will show yellow plaques under the eyelid. The eye will also have an inflammation and if left untreated, this infection can cause serious eye damage.

Vitamin deficiency  is another cause of eye diseases in birds. For example, a lack of vitamin E in a breeding pair can lead to the emergence of a blind cub(s) and vitamin A is necessary for proper pigmentation and tear flow. To prevent such deficiencies, it is as always to give your bird a good and varied diet where you get all, above all, all vitamins, but also get a good variety of all minerals, fibres, antioxidants, proteins, salts, healthy fats, iodine and lime as all of these work together in one way or another and a lack of one end of these components can cause a lot of mess in the bird’s body and disease.

If the bird shows signs of discomfort or symptoms of any eye disease and shows symptoms such as closing the eyes, swelling, reddening, being seen to have a foreign substance in the eye or blinking more than usual make sure to get the bird to an avian veterinarian for immediate treatment. Veterinarians will prescribe eye drops with antibiotics or other medications that can help manage eye disease at an early stage.

What you can do to prevent eye disease in your birds is to ensure that you give the birds as good and varied a diet as possible, where all components are included such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, proteins, salts, healthy fats, iodine and lime think about all these components work together in the bird’s body and a lack of something causes problems in the birds’ bodies. 

Make sure there is good air as mold spores such as Aspergillus and Candida albicans spores thrive where the air is poor and in warm, moist and preferably dark environments such as topsoil, compost, house dust, food etc. Air often and make sure to have an air purifier in the room the birds stay in to avoid disease settling in the eyes or upper, lower respiratory tract.

Crow with cataracts