By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
My hamster is about 2 1/2 years old very and active, but last night her eye was popped out and looks blind; the other eye is fine. This morning her good eye won’t open. Should I bring her to a veterinarian?
The quick answer is YES! Please bring her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. As anyone who has had hamsters knows, it is possible with their relatively large eyes and relatively small eye socket to have the globe of the eye dislodge and “pop” out. This can happen with trauma, infection, cancer or other unknown causes.
If the eye is placed back into the socket in a reasonable amount of time, permanent damage may be avoided. But if the globe is out of the socket for an extended period of time, two things can cause the eye to become non-visual.
First, the blood supply becomes compromised to the point that no blood reaches the eye to nourish the important structures. Second, the nerve that connects the eye to the brain becomes stretched and damaged. Once that nerve, called the “optic nerve,” is damaged, even with the eye replaced into the socket, sight does not return.
It is possible that the same process that caused one eye to pop out of the socket is the same process affecting the other eye. This is another reason to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Hamsters who live in their protected cage environment can do well with just one eye, but the loss of both eyes may cause some initial quality of life problems for your hamster.