Why Do Turtle’s Eyes Turn White? (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)

Unlike humans, turtle eyes don’t have a white sclera, a colored iris, and a black pupil, turtle eyes are generally dark all over and are one color and this color is generally not white

If you find that your turtle’s eyes are turning white then you may worry, this article looks into why this happens

Why do turtle’s eyes turn white?

Any change to your turtle’s eyes may scare you.

These animals need their eyes to see, eat move around, and do a variety of other things, so, if something is wrong with the animal’s eyes then you’d understand the worry.

Here is why your turtle’s eyes may be turning white:

Issue with the nictitating membrane:

If you see a film over your pet’s eyes then you’re looking at the animal’s nictitating membrane.

This membrane is a translucent, or semi-translucent, membrane that all turtles have. It moves horizontally across the animal’s eye.

The role of this membrane is to act as another layer of protection for the animal’s eye. It keeps the eye moist when the external environment is dry.

This membrane is usually translucent or semi-translucent but if is white then this may mean that the animal has an infection or vitamin A deficiency

What to do:

Figuring out whether your pet has an eye infection or a vitamin A deficiency at home on your own can be quite difficult, you’d need to visit a vet to have your pet’s eyes and overall health checked.

If your pet has a vitamin A defect then the vet will give your pet a vitamin A injection and recommend a change of diet.

If your pet has an eye infection then the vet will prescribe either antibacterial or antifungal drops depending on what’s wrong with your pet.

Poor water quality:

Another reason why your pet’s eyes may be turning white may be that the animal is swimming in poor-quality water.

One of the causes of poor water quality is high levels of ammonia. High concentrations of ammonia in your pet’s water can cause the animal’s eyes to develop a white cloudy appearance because of the irritation

What to do:

Cleaning the tank, and doing this regularly, will get your pet’s eyes back to normal.

To keep your pet’s tank clean make sure that there is an appropriate filtration system in the tank and make sure that the water parameters are optimal and maintained.


An injury may have also caused the irritation in your pet’s eyes, a scratch could have caused the eyes to look cloudy

What to do:

If the scratch is minor then it will heal on its own but it is recommended that you still take your pet to the vet for a checkup and to get antibiotic treatments to keep infections at bay..

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other turtle/tortoise related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Swollen?, Why Did My Turtle’s Tail Fall Off?Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Curled?Why Does My Tortoise Wag Its Tail?Why Is My Turtle’s Tail Tucked In?Why Does My Turtle Keep Opening His Mouth?Why Is My Turtle’s Mouth Bleeding?What’s Wrong With My Turtle’s Eyes?Why Is My Tortoise Blowing Bubbles From His Mouth?

Why Do Turtle’s Eyes Turn White? (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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