In the daytime, my hamster used to knock on everything around it. That makes me wonder if my hamsters are blind. As a beginner, I did not know much about hamsters at that time. So naturally, I started to search about hamster eyesight and related topics. In that research, I learned a lot and was able to clarify things about hamster blindness.
So to the question are hamsters blind, the answer is no they are not, but they have very limited eyesight. Let me explain this in detail.
How do I tell if my hamster is blind?
If you suspect that your hamsters are blind, you need to start monitoring the hamsters much more closely first. You need to ideally see whether they exhibit any symptoms of blindness. There could be a number of reasons which could result in the blindness of the hamsters. Those reasons could be either serious or minor reasons. Having said that, it would be somewhat hard to tell If a hamster is suffering from blindness also.
That is because they have poor eyesight by nature. This literally means, going blind does not make a great impact on their survival since they are heavily dependent on smell and hearing skills. Hope these facts have already made you excited to read through this article, if so keep reading it until the end as I am certain that you will be able to learn very useful information in this regard.
How do you recognize the symptoms of eye problems?
As stated above, hamsters don’t have very good vision like humans do. They are nearsighted creatures by nature. Humans are heavily dependent on their senses to witness the world around them. On the other hand, hamsters survive depending on the smell and hearing skills they have. Even though hamsters can’t see as good as humans do, you don’t have to presume that something is wrong with the hamsters as it is their nature.
Even though you cannot easily diagnose that hamsters are going blind, if they happen to show any signs of clumsiness it is very likely that they are going blind. So, if they happen to walk into things or fall off from things repeatedly it is likely that they are going to be blind. In addition to that, you need to identify the symptoms of cataracts also.
For example, if the hamster’s eyes tend to look milky it is more like they are suffering from cataracts. Having said that cataracts would usually occur only among older hamsters. However, it could be one prime reason which can result in total blindness in hamsters. It is noteworthy that there is no treatment to remedy the cataract in the hamsters. However, it would not cause any pain in the hamsters.
Furthermore, you need to identify if there are any symptoms of conjunctivitis also to ascertain whether they are going through blindness. For instance, if you could spot any inflammation in the hamster’s eyes or if you could spot their eyelids stuck together along with a crusty discharge chances are that they are suffering from conjunctivitis. However, they would not be entirely blind here.
Numerous reasons could factor into this condition. For example, bacterial infection or irritation from a foreign object could be a couple of reasons. So, if you want to loosen the hamsters’ eyelids you could simply wipe off the discharge by using a clean moist cotton ball. However, if they keep showing symptoms of blindness, it would be best to take them to a doctor and wash their eyes with saline. Additionally, they may prescribe antibiotics also.
Next check whether you could see any symptoms of exophthalmos. Usually, when a hamster is infected by exophthalmos, their eyeball would protrude from the socket in an unusual manner. This condition is known as exophthalmos and proptosis. It is noteworthy that this could be a serious condition where sometimes the hamsters may even lose their eye.
In addition to these symptoms, if you spot any enlarged eyeball or redness it is very likely that they are suffering from this condition. In addition to that watery discharge could also be another sign here. If you come across these signs in your hamsters, you need to take them to a doctor as promptly as you could.
In addition to the above factors, you could check whether the hamsters are showing any signs of glaucoma too. In fact, hamsters could develop glaucoma just like humans would do. It is something that could lead to blindness in the end.
To ascertain whether the hamsters are going through glaucoma, you could check whether they have a strong aversion to light. Besides, if their eyes bulge a bit, it is very likely that they are suffering from Glaucoma. So, if you happen to come across these signs it would be worth paying a visit to the doctor. If you don’t treat them on time, it could turn out to be quite painful for the hamsters. You could treat these conditions with medications. Furthermore, the vet doctors would make them go through surgeries if necessary.
How do you test if my hamster is blind?
It would be somewhat challenging to test if the hamsters are blind, as they would look around or look directly at you very rarely. Due to that, it would be quite complicated to figure out if the hamsters are going to be blind or not. Sometimes you can determine blindness in hamsters by observing when they eat. If blind hamsters come across any food, they would look at it with so much intensity. But some normal hamsters do the same thing. Therefore it is not a good method to check their blindness. However, if you want to test whether the hamsters are blind or not, you could simply take them to a doctor so that they will do the necessary testing and determine it.
Hamsters are food driven and they have the ability to eat all day long. So if you have doubts about whether the hamsters are blind, you could get them a test they like and see how they respond to it. For example, try placing some fruits, and vegetables that they like and leave them a few inches away from their head. Ensure that you keep the treat closer so that hamsters will notice it and snag it.
Rotate the place where you have kept the treat until they respond to it. So, if you had to hold them to about one centimeter or less from their nose, you can presume that hamsters are entirely blind partially blind. Besides, if you try to pick them up from the front and if they seem to jump in fear when you do that, it is very likely that they have not seen you.
Can a hamster go blind?
Hamsters can go blind due to numerous reasons and they are as follows.
Hamsters could go blind if they are a bad breed. For example, if you purchased a hamster online or from any other breeding hamster at home, chances are that they can get blindness genetically. They may get blindness since they may be routinely inbred. So, if you are purchasing hamsters you need to ideally look at whether the pet stores have the relevant certifications. Inbreeding could bring so many adverse effects on the animals as well as on the humans.
One might breed hamsters to gain more profits and this is quite popular among unscrupulous hamster breeders. That is because the hamsters can breed at an unusual rate and chances are that they can reproduce with any hamster be it their siblings or even their parents. Besides, female hamsters can get involved in breeding even when they are 12 weeks old. Consequently, it would lead to a population spared which has bad genetics.
Injury or illness is secondary
Hamsters have poor eyesight by nature. Therefore, it is very likely that they get injuries on and off. Further chances are that they would bump into objects more often. Additionally, the female hamsters who breed so much would tend to injure the male hamsters so that they could escape from the breeding and from pregnancies too.
Furthermore, if you happen to breed the hamsters in unclean cages it would pave the way for numerous illnesses. Besides, it would lead to allergies in eyes, ears and in the nose too. Keep in mind that allergies from food would take place more than allergies due to dust and dirt materials.
Old age in hamsters
Hamsters age just like humans do. Besides they would come up with health-related issues just like other living beings would. The average life expectancy of the hamsters would be about 18 months. Hence old age blindness would take place somewhat faster among the hamsters. So you could spot symptoms of blindness after their second year. Furthermore, if your hamster is older, you need to keep an extra eye on the cleanliness of the hamster cages, once the hamsters are older they would tend to pee and poop in their cage. As such you need to ensure that you are keeping the hamster cages clean.
What happens when hamsters go blind?
As we explained above, hamsters have very poor eyesight. As such, they would depend on their senses and on their hearing skills to see the world. So, if a hamster experiences blindness, it would not have a great impact on them.
How to care for a blind hamster
First and foremost you need to take the hamster to a doctor. If you suspect that something is wrong with the hamsters, ideally what you could do is take them to a doctor. If the hamsters are suffering from cataracts it is very unlikely that there will be any treatment for that. However, if the blindness had occurred due to an infection, doctors would be able to provide appropriate remedies.
Furthermore, you should never panic and worry if you come across this with your beloved hamsters. So, if the hamsters are blind or tend to lose their eyesight there is nothing much you could do to overcome that. Keep in mind that hamsters can live perfectly fine irrespective of the fact whether they have vision or not. By nature hamsters have poor vision and losing the vision does not make any impact for the hamsters.
Don’t ever get surprised by the behavioral changes of the hamsters. Once the hamsters suffer from blindness, they would become more skittish and irritable as well. So, if you come across these signs with the hamsters you don’t need to panic about seeing them.
Furthermore, you need to ensure that you make the necessary arrangements too. It is true that hamsters would survive well without eyesight. However, there could be some hamsters that would struggle to adjust to the lack of vision. Make sure that you remove whatever objects or things that could injure the hamsters.
Can a hamster be born blind?
Many animal species are born blind and hamsters are no exception. However, they would not stay blind. It would take a few days for the hamsters to gain vision. However, you cannot expect it to improve as they grow.
Furthermore, hamsters cannot determine the distances as well as the depths at all. So, they may end up jumping from high levels and hurting themselves if you are not careful. Not only that sometimes they would tend to jump out of your hands assuming that their cage is closer to them.
How do you help blind hamsters to thrive
If you find out that your hamsters are blind, there are some vital things you could practice to overcome it. That will help them to get around easily. First, what I recommend you do here is to keep the hamster cage in the same pot. That will help them to navigate themselves without getting lost in any corner.
Furthermore, always try to keep the food bowl in the same place you usually keep it so that they don’t need to look where you have kept the food for them. Try creating a hamster highway using the small tubes and cat toys so that they can follow to their cages much more easily.
One important thing you need to always bear in mind is to handle the blind hamsters carefully and gently. Always be soft-spoken and try to handle them gently whenever you try to hold them. Further, when you put them back you need to place them in the same spot where you kept them before. You need to have some patience and extra care when handling blind hamsters. That will help them to live a happy and healthy life.
Some important facts to know about blindness in hamsters
It is noteworthy that hamster blindness is not a permanent thing. There is treatable blindness. After successful completion of treatment, it would allow them to regain their vision. Some of the main root causes of blindness would be such as genetic issues, infections, tumors and injuries etc. Most of the blindness would not create any pain among the hamsters. Blind hamsters can still live perfectly fine as long as you take good care of them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are Syrian hamsters blind?
Syrian hamsters are not blind. However, they are nearsighted and cold-blind. They would greatly depend on the senses and on the hearing skills just like the other hamster species would do. You might think they are blind due to their behavior. But if you observe them closely you can see it is not blindness.
Are red-eyed hamsters blind?
Red-eyed hamsters are not blind. However, they may sometimes face albinism. They are lacking a visual pigment and have albinism due to that. They may develop a red eye. This is not a medical-related issue that you need to panic about.
To wind up if you suspect your precious hamsters are suffering from blindness, I suggest the best thing you could do is to go to a doctor to do a thorough checkup on the hamsters. It is noteworthy that when a hamster goes blind, it may become aggressive. So, they may often end up biting other hamsters. So, if you suspect your beloved hamsters are blind, be more observant and try to attend to it as swiftly as you could.
Hello, my name is James and I’ve been caring for tiny pets for over 14 years with a passion. I enjoy passing on my expertise to other individuals in order for them to have the same amount of enjoyment as I do.