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Exophthalmia (Eye Bulging) in Hamsters: A Comprehensive Guide

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Understanding This Condition and What To Do If It Occurs

a picture of a hamster with big bulging eyes.

Exophthalmia, or eye bulging, in hamsters can be a distressing condition for both pet and owner. Let’s delve into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for this issue to ensure your hamster receives the best care possible.

What is Exophthalmia in Hamsters?

Exophthalmia refers to the abnormal protrusion or bulging of the eyes from their sockets. While hamsters naturally have eyes that may appear prominent, true exophthalmia is often a sign of an underlying health problem and requires immediate attention.

Symptoms of Exophthalmia in Hamsters

Keep an eye out for these signs, which may indicate exophthalmia in your hamster:

  • Discharge or tears from the eyes
  • Crusting around the eyes
  • Difficulty navigating or moving around
  • Trouble eating
  • Weight loss
  • Pawing at the face
  • Change in eye color or haze
  • Swelling of the eye or complete displacement from the socket

Common Causes of Exophthalmia

Several factors can contribute to eye bulging in hamsters, including:

  • Dental issues
  • Eye infections
  • Abscesses behind the eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Tumors or cancers
  • Allergies
  • Poor hygiene or environmental conditions
  • Corneal injuries or ulcers
  • Trauma or mishandling

Diagnosis by Veterinarians

If you notice any signs of exophthalmia, seek veterinary care promptly. Your vet will conduct a thorough examination, including assessing your hamster’s eating habits, activity levels, and cage cleanliness. They may perform eye staining to check for corneal injuries and may recommend further tests like X-rays or CT scans to evaluate underlying issues like dental disease.

a cartoon drawing of a hamster with big eyes that are not experiencing symptoms of Exophthalmia

Treatment Options

Treatment for exophthalmia depends on the underlying cause. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication, antibiotics, or topical ointments to alleviate discomfort and treat infections. Dental procedures may be necessary for dental-related issues, while surgery may be recommended for severe cases or tumor removal. In some instances, surgical removal of the affected eye may be the best option for relieving pain and preventing further complications.

Recovery and Management

Follow your vet’s instructions carefully, administering medications as prescribed and attending follow-up appointments. Provide a quiet and comfortable environment for your hamster to rest and heal, limiting their activity outside the cage. With proper care and treatment, many hamsters can recover well from exophthalmia.

FAQs About Exophthalmia in Hamsters

  1. Why is My Hamster’s Eye Bulging?
    Eye bulging can result from various factors, including trauma, infections, dental issues, or underlying diseases. Prompt veterinary care is essential to determine the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.
  2. How Do You Treat a Swollen Hamster Eye?
    Treatment typically involves pain management, addressing the underlying cause, and may include medications or surgical intervention as necessary.
  3. How Can I Prevent Hamster Eye Bulging?
    Regular veterinary check-ups, maintaining proper hygiene, and providing a clean and comfortable living environment can help prevent eye bulging in hamsters.

Your hamster’s well-being is paramount. By staying vigilant for signs of exophthalmia and seeking prompt veterinary care, you can ensure your furry friend receives the attention and treatment they need to stay healthy and happy.


Here at Can My Hamster we help people learn all about their fury little friends. What foods they can eat, what things they can do and how to look after them. Please note though, we are not trained Vets we have just looked after Hamsters for many years. So if your hamster is showing any health concerns ensure you get them to a vet as soon as you can.

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