There can be several reasons why a hamster’s eyes are closed. The most common is when the fluid around its eyelid dries. When this happens, it prevents your hamster from opening its eyes.
Another reason is if your hamster accidentally scratched its eye. In this case, the hamster in California may immediately require medical attention for healing. A closed eye may also indicate an infection or abscess on the face. This article takes a deep dive into this common pet scare.
Read: Sleeping with Hamsters at Night – Important Tips
Eye infections are the biggest reason why hamsters may close one eye. In the case of conjunctivitis, your hamster’s eye may become red and swollen.
They may even close their eyes voluntarily because of pain or sensitivity to light. Bacteria may cause eye infections in hamsters.
Treatment of eye infections depends on the cause. If your hamster has an eye infection, treating the underlying condition may be more serious and concerning than the eye problem.
Hamsters may also hold their eye shit if they have suffered an injury to their eye. The term for an injury that damages the eye’s surface is known as corneal ulcers.
You should treat this painful condition immediately. The most common symptom of corneal ulcers is keeping the affected eye shut. Your hamster’s eye may also be watery and red.
Treating corneal ulcers requires medications, often anti-inflammatory medications. The problem is progressive, and you should count on it to resolve on its own.
This condition is more common in cats and dogs, but eyelid issues have been known to occur in hamsters. The problem causes your hamster to hold its eye shut.
The hamster may have a condition known as entropion. This is a condition where the eyelid folds inwards, causing a tuft of skin to come in contact with the eye.
The eyelid may also develop growths that could irritate the eye itself. The only course of action is corrective surgery. So book an appointment with a vet and the earliest.
Glaucoma has been known to occur in hamsters. It is a painful condition that could cause your hamster to hold its eye shut. The condition is less common in hamsters.
Glaucoma is caused due to fluid buildup in the eye. The fluid does not drain like it usually would.
This creates more pressure around the hamster’s eyes. This can cause pain and impact your hamster’s vision if not treated.
Advanced stages of glaucoma can even lead to blindness. Besides holding the eye shut, your hamster may also display other symptoms.
These include bulging eyes, vision loss, and large pupils. There may be several reasons for glaucoma.
The eye condition is a frustrating disease but is not life-threatening. A permanent solution does not exist. The treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
Your vet may prescribe medication to minimize the symptoms of the condition.
First, find out what’s preventing your hamster from opening its eye.
Check around the hamster’s eye for objects that shouldn’t be there. As mentioned earlier, your hamster’s eye may be closed because something is stuck here.
You may gently open the hamster’s eye to have a look. If dirt or sand is around the eyelid, you can clean it using a Q-tip.
Dip the q-tip in lukewarm water before treating the hamster’s eyes. If you notice an object puncturing the hamster’s eye, take your hamster to a vet.
Don’t remove any objects that have punctured your hamster’s eye. Doing so could cause even more damage. Book an appointment with a vet at the earliest to prevent the loss of an eye.
It may be possible that your hamster has developed a condition known as contract conjunctivitis or pink eye. Like humans, pink eyes can affect other animals, such as hamsters.
The condition is not dangerous, but you should take the hamster to a vet for good measure. Book an appointment with the vet if your hamster shows the following signs:
- Watery discharge around the eye. If left untreated, the discharge may develop a pus-like appearance.
- Redness around the hamster’s eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Sticky eyelids
This is a more severe condition: the hamster’s eyeball protrudes out of its socket. This may occur due to infections or trauma.
Do not attempt to fix this problem yourself. Protruding eyeballs require immediate attention from vets. This is an emergency, and time is of the essence.
Get to a vet as soon as possible to improve the chances of saving your hamster’s eyeball.
Once you have determined that your hamster keeps one eye closed because of dried fluid, you can proceed to the next step.
Hold your pet gently to avoid hurting it while you clean the eyelid. Don’t apply too much force otherwise, you could cause a severe injury.
Your goal should be to keep the hamster in an immobilized position to aid in clearing out the dried fluid.
Don’t start cleaning until the hamster has become comfortable with your grip. Once the hamster has stopped struggling and resigned to its fate, you can start cleaning out the eye.
For this solution, you will need a Q-tip or a cotton swab. A washcloth will also do just fine. Dip your preferred cleaner in lukewarm water.
The water should not be too hot or cold. Excessively hot water could damage your hamster’s eye. Cold water would cause the hamster to jolt from its position violently. This could be dangerous as the hamster may drive its eye into the Q-tip.
Hold the Q-tip near the eye. Careful not to pull open the eye just yet. Opening the eye too quickly will cause damage.
Instead, it would help if you weakened the crust with the q-tip. Hold the q-tip around the hamster’s eye for some time. This will allow the hamster to open its eye.
Your hamster may find the confidence to open its eye on its own without you having to take further action.
You can gently move the crust away from the eye area as the crust gets weaker. Don’t force the crust away from the eye because it would hurt the hamster.
Your hamster should now be able to open its eyes. If the hamster doesn’t open its eye after a few minutes, you could help your pet out.
Start pulling at the lids gently to nudge your hamster into opening its eyes. It would help if you did not encounter difficulty opening the lids. Stop immediately if you notice any difficulty.
Finally, if nothing else works, you can always visit the vet. Your vet might even discover potential eye problems and treat them before they can get worse.
Pro tip: Are sticky eyes a frequently occurring problem for your hamster? You can wash around your hamster’s eyes regularly using the above steps. This will prevent the formation of crusts and allow your hamster to open its eyes freely.
Most eye problems in hamsters are preventable. You can follow a few simple maintenance tips to minimize the risk of sticky eyes and other issues.
The most crucial step is to keep the cage clean. Remove any dust and dirt accumulated around the hamster’s immediate vicinity.
You may also want to change your bedding if it generates too much dust. Some linens spread particulate matter around the room.
Your room may also get dusty after a home remodeling project. This should be your cue to clean the hamster’s cage.
A clean environment and cage are key to protecting your hamster’s sensitive eye and its overall health. You can also minimize the likelihood of sticky eyes.
It may be tempting to have your pets interact with your hamster. However, this can be dangerous, especially if the other pet is larger than your hamster.
You should never leave your hamster alone with dogs and cats. This could lead to severe injuries to their eyes.
It is also recommended to keep hamsters as individual pets. Pairing them with another hamster may create aggression among the two.
If a fight breaks out between the two, it could result in permanent injuries. It is better to separate hamsters showing signs of aggression toward each other.
In summary, your hamster may be holding one eye closed if the fluid around its eyelid has dried. This condition is relatively easy to fix at home.
It is better to consult a vet for other eye issues as soon as possible. The vet will diagnose and treat the condition.
If your hamster isn’t opening its eyes even after you’ve cleaned the crust around its eyelid, take it to an eye specialist.
Have you ever dealt with eye problems in your hamster in California? If so, how did you deal with the issue, and did it resolve on its own? Share your experiences with us, and we might update this space with more information!
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My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more