I recently noticed that there was some issues with the eye on my female ball python. She just recently laid so in the last couple of weeks I have been leaving her alone as much as possible with just brief checks on her just to make sure her parameters were okay and she had fresh water. Yesterday I took her out to handle her for a while and I noticed that her eye looked really bad on one side. I immediately took her to my exotic vet today that is actually pretty knowledgeable and a great vet but he was not completely sure if the eye had perhaps been punctured by a feeder since I feed live but was definitely also experiencing a severely stuck eye cap. His recommended course of treatment is 3 weeks of antibiotics as a preventative in case there was an injury to the eye but he does not feel comfortable in attempting to remove the stuck cap because it has hardened to some degree. He feels attempting to remove it at this point could cause serious damage to the soft tissue of the eye. His recommendation is to run the antibiotic course and wait until her next shed
to see if the eye cap comes off with her next shed. My only concern is that this snake does not shed near as often as most of my other snakes and sometimes goes four or five months between sheds. I would love to know the community’s thoughts about what I should do moving forward. I am enclosing pictures as good as I could get of the eye.
I’d try maybe some dilute iodine soaks, but if the vet suspects a puncture, I would not attempt any manual removal as you could cause severe damage to the eye itself. A puncture alone can lead to needing to have the eye surgically removed, so the conservative way is the best way forward. You don’t want to end up fully rupturing the globe, and at this point, the eye cap itself may be acting a bit like a bandage.
Since the vet actually examined her, I would definitely do what they recommend. I can’t tell from pics if there is a puncture or not. If it was just stuck shed I would either soak her in shallow warm water with a bunch of paper towel bunched up for her to rub on if wanted, or put her in a damp cloth bag for a few hours to see if it softens at all. Then try to help her remove them very gently with finger or q-tip, but that would be only if you were sure it is shed and not some injury.
Thank you guys for your advice. This is such an awesome community!
I have acquired a couple of adults with old retained eye caps (for how long who knows), if not two sheds worth.
For those snakes I found soaking was not enough, I needed more extreme measures of putting them in a wet pillow case for an hour which resolved it, if not, then a gentle rub with a tissue once they come out did the trick.
Just a warning, wring out the pillow case, too soaking wet will reduce oxygen flow too much.
I will try the pillowcase messages to see if that helps her out