This whole ordeal happened about 5 months ago in August 2008. See part 1, here .
Ok, so after I posted to the TurteTimes forum, I started getting responses.
Since Rex was walking and swimming around with his eyes closed and bumping into a lot of stuff, I removed all of his rocks and driftwood, with the wise advice from one of the forum moderators. I also started removing the styrofoam background.
Rex went to sleep but I accidentally woke him up while checking messages. He panicked and started to climb up the same area where he had gotten stuck. I had removed only the top half of the background so he didn’t get too far up. I immediately removed the rest of the background for both turtles, except for the middle area between both tank divisions, since the background was needed to keep the divider up.
The morning after, his eyes looked a tiny tad better, but were still very badly hurt. In the morning he somehow wedged himself where his basking corkbark meets the white eggcrate tank divider, but this happened before the heat lamps went on. I repositioned him on his basking area since I wasn’t sure if he was just napping there or was stuck, and he promptly jumped back into the water. I wondered if that and his climbing attempt the previous night was just him trying to dry dock himself or if the pain was just making him panic and do unusual things.
A few hours later my fiancee took Rex to the vet. They said that he was suffering from a UV burn, basically a really, really bad sun burn, which is why the affected areas were red. He also has some burn marks on his nose. He was stuck pretty close to the UV lamp.
There weren’t any infections but he was given a vitamin shot to help with healing. To be safe, they provided antibiotic eye drops and an oral pain-killer, which we had to give him every few days. The eye drops were easy to apply. He took the first drop to his left eye ok, but the first drop to his right eye (the eye affected worst) must’ve been really painful as he reacted to it and quickly withdrew his head into his shell. Giving him the oral pain meds was difficult as we had to take him out of the water and use a syringe to put it into his mouth. Twice he threw up and once he urinated on me. I’ve never heard of a turtle urinating out of the water before , he must’ve really been in real pain (I was later told that turtles peeing outside of the water is not unusual). To get him his pain meds, we would coat some of his food pellets with the meds and he would quickly eat it up.
Both eyes looked better and he was able to open them both. The left eye still had some redness and swelling around it, but the right eye still looked very bad. Because of the puffiness and swelling, his right eye made him look Chinese.
I returned his driftwood and rocks into his side of the tank and he was able to peacefully sleep on top of his driftwood.
Iâ€™ll share some recovery photos and my closing thoughts on his eye injury in the next post.