Why Is My Hamster’s Eye Bulging? (2024)

Why Is My Hamster's Eye Bulging-template

Hamsters are often perceived as low-maintenance pets, but this is a misconception because they are susceptible to various medical issues. If you’re wondering, “Why is my hamster’s eye bulging?” it might be best to consult a vet first.

Proper care is essential to ensure the well-being of these adorable little pets.

One common medical condition seen in hamsters is bulging eyes, which can be distressing for any hamster owner. So, why is your hamster’s eye bulging?

Understanding the causes behind this condition is crucial before seeking solutions.

Bulging eyes in hamsters can result from several factors, including injuries, infections, and even improper handling, such as holding them too tightly.

If you notice your beloved hamster experiencing this problem, it is crucial to seek professional veterinary care as soon as possible. 

Read on to learn more.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other hamster-related articlesBest Hamster Breeders in The UK and Facts About The Teddy Bear Hamster.

What Is Exophthalmos?

What Is Exophthalmos

Exophthalmos, also known as proptosis, is the condition that leads to the bulging of hamsters’ eyes from their sockets.

While all species of hamsters are susceptible to eye protrusion, it is typically triggered by an underlying issue.

A hamster’s eye may bulge due to various factors, including eye infections, trauma, dental problems, glaucoma, or an abscess exerting pressure on the eye.

Additionally, allergies and poor hygiene can contribute to hamster eye protrusion.

It is essential to avoid firmly squeezing a pet hamster, as this can lead to the eyes popping out.

If you have children or younger siblings, educating them on proper hamster handling techniques is crucial to prevent any harm to their furry pet.

Exophthalmos, or eye protrusion, manifests through several symptoms, including:

  • Eye discharge or excessive tearing
  • Crusting around the eyes
  • Visual impairment, leading to difficulty navigating the enclosure
  • Weight loss
  • Eating difficulties
  • Pawing at the face
  • Change in eye color
  • Swelling of the eye

What Causes Bulging Of The Eye?

What Causes Bulging Of The Eye

Eye Infections

An eye infection, like conjunctivitis (pink eye), results in the eye becoming red, inflamed, and crusted.

It may feel warm to touch and discharge pus, eventually leading to significant swelling that causes it to protrude from the socket.

Various factors can cause eye infections in hamsters, including:

  • Unclean bedding
  • Bacteria from fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables
  • The presence of a foreign object inside the eye
  • Injuries
  • Allergies

To effectively treat an eye infection, the hamster must undergo a veterinarian-prescribed course of antibiotics, ensuring the disease clears up correctly.


What Can The Vet Do

Hamsters have poor eyesight, leading to collisions with large or sharp objects.

Bedding materials can also adhere to their eyes, hindering proper blinking and potentially causing damage, leading to eye protrusion.

Eye displacement may occur if a hamster is restrained too tightly by its owner, specifically when gripping the skin behind the neck.

Accidental stepping on or squeezing too firmly can also cause eye issues, a common concern when young children handle their pet hamsters without proper knowledge of appropriate techniques.

Dental Issues

Dental abnormalities in hamsters can sometimes lead to a bulging eye, necessitating a corrective dental procedure to realign the issue.

However, in some cases, this procedure may not be effective, and the discomfort persists. Removing the affected eye might be required to alleviate the hamster’s pain.

It is worth noting that surgery on small animals like hamsters is challenging, and veterinarians may be reluctant to pursue such procedures.

Unfortunately, if all treatment options have been exhausted and the hamster’s well-being is severely compromised, euthanasia might be the most humane and compassionate choice.



Bulging eyes in hamsters can be attributed to tooth and cheek abscesses and cheek pouch tumors.

These conditions lead to the eye protruding from its socket due to the pressure exerted by tumor or abscess.

Prompt veterinary intervention becomes crucial given the pain and discomfort associated with eye protrusion and abscess.

Oral antibiotics have proven to be effective in treating abscesses.

Additionally, the pressure can be alleviated through lancing and draining, facilitating the eye’s recovery, provided it has not already popped out of the socket.


Glaucoma is an eye disorder that arises when abnormal pressure affects one or both eyes.

A hamster’s eye contains aqueous humor, a watery fluid that maintains a delicate balance through drainage via microscope channels.

The balanced flow helps the eye maintain its spherical shape by creating internal pressure.

However, when the fluid cannot drain correctly or if there is an excessive accumulation, the pressure inside the eye increases, resulting in eye protrusion.

Allergic Reactions


A hamster’s eye protruding from its socket may indicate an allergy.

Hamsters can be allergic to various factors, including bedding, food, and airborne substances like sprays and perfumes.

Fortunately, in many cases, eliminating the allergen responsible for the reaction can resolve the symptoms.

The hamster’s eye condition can often be alleviated by identifying and removing the source of the allergy.

Bad Hygiene

Exophthalmos can also be caused by inadequate cage hygiene, which fosters the growth of harmful bacteria.

For, instance, spilled water can lead to moldy bedding, posing a risk to the hamster’s eyes.

Moreover, ammonia buildup from urine can cause eye problems if the eyes come into contact with the urine, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a clean and hygienic cage environment.


How Can You Help

Hamsters can inadvertently hurt their eyes while running, playing, or moving around in bedding.

Therefore, selecting the appropriate cage should be a top priority to ensure their safety.

When housing two or more hamsters together, there is always a risk of deadly fights, and during these conflicts, one or both hamsters’ eyes may sustain injuries.


Hamsters have relatively small hearts, and in their natural habitat, they prefer to live alone.

These little creatures are easily startled; any sudden surprise can shock them. Such shocks can also result in the bulging of one or both of your hamster’s eyes.

Can Your Hamster’s Eye Fall Out Of Its Socket?

Handle Carefully

In severe instances, a hamster’s eyes may dry up and eventually fall out after being out of the socket for several days.

The eye becomes excessively enlarged, making it impossible for the hamster to blink or close its eyes. 

Once the eyeball has popped out, it cannot be reinserted into the socket.

Unfortunately, hamsters typically do not survive long after this condition occurs, and veterinarians often recommend euthanasia to relieve their discomfort.

However, hamsters can adapt to life with only one eye and maintain a reasonable quality of life.

As mentioned earlier, hamsters have poor eyesight, relying on their sense of smell, and find their way around their enclosure.

How Can You Help?

Conclusion For Why Is My Hamster's Eye Bulging

As mentioned earlier, unsanitary conditions can contribute to hamsters developing bulging eyes. Regular cage cleaning is crucial.

Remove soiled bedding and promptly clean up urine using tissue and disinfectant to prevent this.

This proactive approach helps prevent harmful bacteria from infecting the eyes and ensures a healthier environment for your hamster. Here is more that you can do:

Freshen Up The Bedding

Switching to a more suitable substrate is essential if your hamster is allergic to its bedding.

Opt for paper-based bedding, which is a safe and favorable option. Alternatively, aspen shavings can be ideal for hamsters with allergies.

Avoid using pine and cedar shavings, as they are toxic and may cause discomfort by poking the hamster’s eyes, leading to bulging or protrusion.

Prioritizing the right bedding can help ensure your hamster’s well-being and prevent adverse reactions.

Handle Carefully

Can Your Hamster’s Eye Fall Out Of Its Socket

When handling your hamster, remember to maintain a gentle grip at all times.

Avoid squeezing or pulling the skin on the back of its neck, as this can cause distress and harm to the hamster.

If you have children, it is crucial to supervise them when they play with their hamsters.

Educate them on proper handling techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of the little pets.

Keep An Eye On The Teeth

Hamsters can develop dental diseases due to poor teeth alignment.

Regularly check your hamster’s teeth to ensure they don’t grow too long, and provide chew toys that help wear them down.

This proactive measure will prevent dental problems and minimize the chances of eye protrusion.

Bulging eyes can be painful and distressing for hamsters, so monitoring their eye’s shape, color, and size is essential.

This way, you can address any issues promptly before they escalate into serious problems.

What Can The Vet Do?

Allergic Reactions

Diagnosing the cause of a bulging eye in a hamster can be challenging, making it essential to seek professional help.

Entrust this task to an expert veterinarian who can provide the best treatment plan for the condition.

Based on the eye’s condition, the vet may recommend the following treatments:

  • Antibiotics
  • Eye drops to keep the eye moist
  • Surgical intervention
  • In severe cases, surgical removal of the affected eye

Do not delay, and promptly schedule a visit to the vet as soon as you notice any issue with your hamster’s eyes.

Swift action can make a significant difference in their well-being.

Why Is My Hamster’s Eye Bulging?


Hamsters are often mistaken for low-maintenance pets but are susceptible to various medical issues, including bulging eyes.

Understanding the causes behind this condition is essential, and seeking professional veterinary care is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Potential causes of bulging eyes in hamsters can range from injuries and infections to dental issues and allergies.

Ensuring good cage hygiene, handling with care, and providing suitable bedding can prevent avoidable eye problems.

Regular monitoring of the hamster’s teeth and prompt veterinary attention can help maintain thei eye health and overall well-being.

Taking proactive measures and seeking expert guidance can ensure a happy and healthy life for these adorable little hamsters.

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