Cockatiel Eye Disease

Cockatiels sometimes develop unexplained eye problems.
Cockatiels sometimes develop unexplained eye problems. (Image: Image by, courtesy of tkcrash123)

One of the principle eye concerns with cockatiels is eye infections. Conjunctivitis, an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, seems to be of an unknown cause. Research into the cause and treatment of cockatiel conjunctivitis is continuing. Any eye problems in a cockatiel should be diagnosed by an avian veterinarian to determine the disease.


The conjunctiva is the tissue between the eye of the bird and the eye lid. It is normally not visible, but is light pink in a healthy bird if the eye lid is gently pulled away. Conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva becomes swollen and visible.

Possible Causes

Bacterial infections are considered the likely cause of many of the cases of conjunctivitis in cockatiels, according to the Australian National Cockatiel Society. Viruses are also a possibility.


A study conducted in 1989 by the Association of Avian Veterinarians found tetracycline ophthalmic ointments most effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis in cockatiels.

Nutrition and Cockatiel Eye Problems

A good diet containing all the nutrients necessary for the bird’s health is also necessary for eye health. This can be accomplished by feeding a high quality commercial cockatiel feed mix. Vitamin A is also related to eye and vision health.

Other Health Problems

Psittacosis, sometimes call parrot fever, can be either acute or chronic. It is communicable and infected birds need to be quarantined for 45 days. The same antibiotics that treat psittacosis seem to effectively treat conjunctivitis, leading some veterinarians to speculate they may be caused by the same or similar bacteria.

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