Is it something bad?
Eyes. Those pairs of round things in one’s head that work as the windows of our world. With those we can see color, other people and the environment around us.
For some animals, it can be (or not, in case of the ones that navigate with sound, like bats and whales) crucial for survival because it can let them spot potential predators and make a run if it needed. Also, for predators, is part of the way to actually look for the prey they need for their eating necessities.
When it comes to hamsters, it is somewhat similar to humans and prey animals. It can open a world of opportunities to explore and can be helpful for some situations. Sometimes hamsters with big eyes could actually have an issue with them so, let’s find out what can be done in this situation and what could actually be happening in those circumstances.
Why my hamster has a bulging eye?
There are some reasons that can explain why your hamster has a bulging eye, some of them related to the way you are handling your little pet. In any case, a hamster should not have a different, protruding eye (or both eyes in some cases) without meaning that something is not right.
Exophthalmos or proptosis, or to put it simply: The bulging of one or both eyeballs from the eye sockets, is a very common issue in hamsters. This condition usually occurs as a consequence of an infection in the eyes or can be also caused by a trauma.
Worryingly enough, if you mishandle the hamster by carrying it too tightly from the back of the neck, you can also cause this condition to happen, and it can lead to something as serious as total eyeball loss if you do not go to the specialist fast enough.
So, the hamsters with big eyes, while they could look even cutter with bigger eyes, could be suffering from this very common condition and you would need to take them to vet very quickly in order to treat it and to see where it come from. As mentioned before, it can become so serious that hamsters can actually lose the entire eyeball if it is not treated promptly.
Why my hamster has a sticky eye?
Just like other animals (including humans), hamsters can get their eyes shut by a layer of dry crust, impeding them to open their eyes easily enough. So, why your hamster has a sticky eye?
First thing to do is actually ruling out other conditions that may appear similar. A hamster can get their eyes closed because of debris like dust and other strange objects inside the eyelids, pink eye (yes, hamsters can also have conjunctivitis just like humans) and the before mentioned proptosis or hamsters with big eyes.
Normally what happen with a sticky eye is that, during night, the hamster’s eyes would secrete some fluid to maintain them lubricated. It is very normal because it is the same thing that our eyes actually do to maintain cleanliness and lubrication, even when we are sleeping.
The thing is, just like with us, this lubricant would dry up and make a crust that can hold the eyelids shut. In hamster can be especially difficult since the little size of those eyes.
What you can do to prevent this to happening though is to keep a good hygiene cycle where, with the help of a cotton swab or a lightly damp and soft cloth, you clean the eyes’ area from time to time.
When it happens though, you could try also doing this method to make the crust softer and allowing the hamster to actually open its eyes by its own means. If it is not use, you could try to help by open the eyes gently enough. You should be careful not to hurt your little pet if that is your remaining option. If it is tough, you should go back and continue moisturizing the crust with the mentioned tools.
If that looks like that is not working either, you should ask for the help of a specialized veterinarian. It can be something else impeding your hamster to opening the eyes properly and should be looked after by a professional.
Can hamsters have pink eye?
When talking about your hamster’s eyes color, normally it is a dark one like black or darker brown, sometimes even red. But when talking about pink eyes, we are not talking about an appearance feature, we are talking about an illness.
In a short answer: Yes. Hamsters can have pink eye, just like humans. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye as we know it, is an infection of the eye that can be annoying for humans but can get complicated for hamsters. However, this should not be lethal or something like that for hamsters.
The way to know your hamster can have conjunctivitis or pink eye is by looking at the symptoms like: Recurring sticky eyelids, continued watery eye discharge, redness around the eyelids and, in serious cases, swollen eyes or face.
In these situations, your trusted vet can determine the cause of this happening and medicate the hamster for recovery.
So then, we have talked about hamsters with big eyes, hamsters with sticky eyes and hamsters with pink eyes. Most of those conditions would sound like “features” related to appearance but it can mean an infection happening and can be a risky time for your little cute pet.
When it come to eye infections, prevention is key to keep your little hamster’s eyes in good and healthy condition. Acting quickly enough can avoid unnecessary complications in the future, especially because some of these illnesses can happen quite commonly in hamsters. Remember that also maintaining a good, clean and hygienic habitat can go a long way for your little furry friend.
As anything you do not know, you should ask always a specialized veterinarian for help when it comes to eye infections in hamsters and to basically any doubts you have with them and other pets you may have at home.