Caring for your pet hamster is something that you take very seriously. You love your furry little companion and want it to keep doing well in your home.
When the hamster doesn’t seem to be opening its eyes, you’re going to be very concerned. What is the cause of this?
There could be a few different things happening when hamsters start having eye problems. Some of them won’t be too bad, but other issues might be problematic.
Read on to learn about the reasons why hamsters won’t open their eyes. This will allow you to take the right actions to protect your pet hamster.
Hamster Sticky Eye
You might not be aware of this, but hamsters can have issues with their eyes becoming sticky. When hamsters are sleeping, fluid will be secreted to keep their eyes moist.
Occasionally, this fluid might come out and dry near the hamster’s eyelid. When this occurs, it can become very sticky.
The sticky nature of this dried fluid makes it so that the hamster is unable to open its eyes. The hamster will wake up and then feel as if it’s forced to keep its eyes shut.
If you notice that the hamster is awake and its eyes aren’t opening, it could be that it’s dealing with a sticky eye issue. This certainly isn’t pleasant for the hamster, but it isn’t that big of a deal overall.
This isn’t going to require you to take the hamster to the veterinarian. You can actually help the hamster right at home without it being too problematic.
How to Fix Sticky Eye Issues
Fixing sticky eye issues will allow your hamster to get back to normal. You can help the hamster to be able to open and close its eyes as necessary.
To begin, pick your hamster up gently and safely. You don’t want to harm the hamster while you’re trying to clean it up.
It’s wise to wait to start cleaning the hamster’s eyes until it has settled. Hold the hamster gently and allow it to calm down.
Once the hamster seems calm enough, start cleaning out its eyes. To do this, use a cotton swab and lukewarm water.
Gently swab the eyes of the hamster with the cotton swab. Getting the area wet and gently swabbing can help to loosen the crust on the hamster’s eyes.
Eventually, the hamster should be able to open its eyes on its own. You don’t want to try to force the hamster’s eyes open right away since that could potentially cause damage.
If the hamster doesn’t try to open its eyes on its own, you can try to gently open them. Just make sure that you’ve properly loosened the gunk first.
Most hamster owners think that helping hamsters with sticky eye issues won’t be hard at all. It isn’t that tough to get the hamster’s eyes to open again.
Just be patient and don’t try to rush the process. Be sure to hold your hamster steady and try to keep it calm while you’re cleaning it up.
After you’ve fixed things, the hamster should go back to normal. It’ll be able to resume its business and start playing around in its cage once more.
Pink eye is another problem that can prevent hamsters from opening their eyes. You might want to rule out whether the hamster has pink eye before moving on and assuming that it has a sticky eye issue.
When hamsters have pink eye, they can wind up having sticky eyelids. You might also notice a watery discharge near the eyes.
If the hamster’s eyes appear to be swollen, there’s a good chance that it’s dealing with pink eye. When you also see redness near the edge of the eyelids, it’s a sign that pink eye is the culprit.
You can’t fix this issue on your own. It’s necessary to talk to a veterinarian if your hamster has pink eye.
The vet can give you the correct treatments to give to the hamster. They will also provide you with advice on how to care for the hamster while it’s recovering.
Pink eye isn’t a serious condition, but it isn’t comfortable for hamsters. Do your best to treat it as soon as possible so your hamster can get better.
Perhaps your hamster has some type of debris in its eyes. There have been situations where hamsters have had foreign objects stuck in their eyes.
This could be anything that might get stuck in the hamster’s eye. It could be a piece of food or it could be that the hamster has dust or sand in its eyes.
Examine the hamster and try to determine if it has something in its eyes. If it does, you might be able to remove the debris to provide the hamster with relief.
Don’t remove the object if it has pierced the hamster’s eye, though. In this situation, you could do a lot more harm than good.
Whenever a hamster has had its eye pierced, it’ll be necessary to go to the vet. A vet will know how to treat the hamster and keep the damage to a minimum.
If the situation isn’t that severe, you can remove standard debris from the hamster’s eyes carefully. This will simply involve using a cotton swab and lukewarm water.
When trying to remove the object or debris, try to be gentle. So long as you’re being careful, you should be able to remove the foreign object without harming the hamster.
Diabetes could be the reason why your hamster isn’t opening its eyes. There have been situations where hamsters have been unable to open their eyes due to diabetes-related issues.
It isn’t always easy to tell if a hamster is diabetic, though. You might need to talk to a vet to see if the hamster is diabetic for sure.
Often, diabetic hamsters will act very lethargic. If you’re seeing less activity from the hamster as of late, that’s not a good sign since hamsters are normally very energetic animals.
Hamsters can get diabetes when they eat too many snacks. If you feed your hamster treats and don’t make it eat healthy foods often enough, it’ll be more likely to become diabetic.
This is why you’re supposed to limit snacks to an occasional thing. It’s also imperative to make your hamster exercise.
Hamsters need plenty of space to be able to move around in their cages. If you have a small cage that the hamster doesn’t enjoy, that’ll make things a lot tougher.
When hamsters become diabetic, they can have various issues with their eyes. It could be that the hamster not opening its eyes is a sign of diabetes-related eye problems.
If you suspect that the hamster has diabetes, it’ll be best to reach out to the veterinarian. The vet will talk to you about how to manage the condition and will also examine the hamster’s eyes.
You should rely on professional help at this point. This will be the best way to know that you’re making good choices for the health of your hamster.
Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid allowing the hamster to become diabetic. Although some hamsters are born diabetic, many pet hamsters become diabetic due to gaining a lot of weight.
Give your hamster toys to play with and encourage it to get up and move around. If your hamster is living in a large cage and has toys, it should be far less likely that it’ll have these issues.
Do your best not to overfeed your hamster either. Feed the hamster healthy foods that will give it the nutrients to thrive.
Many hamster owners don’t know that hamsters can get corneal ulcers. This can happen when the eye becomes irritated or gets scratched.
Often, hamsters experience this when their bedding rubs into their eyes. You might notice that the eye will appear cloudy and sometimes you might see the hamster rubbing it.
When hamsters have corneal ulcers, they often won’t open their eyes. The eye that has the ulcer will be kept shut.
This is a painful thing for the hamster to have to deal with. It can also lead to significant vision problems if left untreated.
As usual, it’s best to speak to a vet to get help. The vet can offer proper treatment that will allow the hamster to get better.
Did you know that hamsters can have issues with protruding eyeballs? This is a bit different than not being able to open the eyes, though.
This happens for several different reasons. A hamster might have its eyes protrude when it has experienced some type of trauma.
For example, a hamster might get injured fighting another hamster. This would cause the trauma that led to the protruding eye issue.
Another potential problem involves infection. Some types of infections will cause hamsters to have their eyes protrude from their heads.
This is an incredibly serious matter that can’t be ignored. No matter what the cause might be, you need to get to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
A vet might be able to do something that will save the eyeball. There isn’t anything that you can do at home to help the hamster.
If left untreated, the hamster could lose the eye. Keep this in mind and take action fast to avoid the worst.
Is the Hamster Dying?
Hamsters don’t live for a long time. Most hamsters will only live for a few years at most.
If your hamster is on the verge of death, it might not open its eyes much. It could be that the hamster’s body is shutting down and it won’t be alive for much longer.
When a hamster is nearing the end of its life, it’ll often lose its appetite. Has the hamster been eating and drinking normally?
If not, it could be a sign that the hamster isn’t doing well. Hamsters that might die soon will typically stop eating and drinking.
Sadly, there isn’t anything you can do to save a dying hamster. Hamsters will pass away when it’s time for them to do so.
Just try to comfort the hamster and care for it as best you can until the end. If you worry that your hamster is suffering, you could look into euthanasia options that might be offered by your local veterinarian.
You should feel more confident that you can help your hamster now. After learning about the various causes of hamsters not being able to open their eyes, it’ll be easier to know what to do.
Typically, this issue is simply caused by hamsters having “gunk” in their eyes. The hamster’s eyes are moistened while they sleep due to them naturally secreting fluid.
When it gets outside of the eye and dries on the eyelids, it’ll cause them to get very sticky. The hamster won’t be able to open its eyes any longer.
You can fix this issue by simply using a cotton swab and lukewarm water. Gently wipe the hamster’s eyes and it should loosen up the “gunk” over time.
Eventually, the hamster should open its eyes on its own. If it doesn’t, you can try to gently and slowly open the hamster’s eyes yourself.
If this isn’t the cause of the issue, it might be something a bit more serious. For instance, the hamster might have something stuck in its eyes.
Sometimes hamsters might have debris stuck in their eyes. You can try to remove foreign objects to fix things and make the hamsters more comfortable.
Diabetes has even been known to cause hamsters to have eye issues. You might want to look into whether your hamster is diabetic if it also seems to be lethargic.
Eye injuries and infections can sometimes cause hamsters to not be able to open their eyes. You might need help treating the hamster in that situation.
The same can be said for pink eye. Pink eye isn’t a serious issue, but it will require treatment for the hamster to get better.
Take the appropriate action no matter what is wrong with your hamster. Reach out for professional help when you need it and your hamster should be just fine.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.