Are Guinea Pigs Blind and How Good Is Their Eyesight?

Are Guinea Pigs Blind and How Good Is Their Eyesight

Just like many other exotic pet animals, guinea pigs are also prone to some eye diseases. Due to various eye diseases, a guinea pig’s health can be affected and some of the eye diseases are more common than others. They sometimes face eye problems due to some other conditions like diabetes, dehydration, respiratory infection and teeth problems. The watery or crusty discharge, cloudy eyes and receding or protruding eyes signal some sort of eye problem.

Are guinea pigs blind? Guinea pigs aren’t blind, but they have a very poor eyesight. The question that whether guinea pigs can see or not has intrigued owners for years. However, blind guinea pigs are also able to live comparatively a normal life.

A healthy guinea pig has large, moist and bright eyes. Despite the bright appearance of their eyes, they have the worse sight among most other caged pet animals. These pets rely on the movement and smell to move around and this is a reason behind their vocal personality.

They signal with noise to tell other guinea pigs about their location, movements, and feelings. Otherwise, it is improbable that they will ever find one another in the wild. Guinea pigs do go blind for several reasons regarding eyesight but it is nothing to be deemed as a disaster. This is because they hardly see their paws in front of their face even at the best times of their health.

How To Tell That Guinea Pig Is Blind?

Generally, guinea pigs have poor sight. Some of them are rendered blind due to their age, or some can’t see by birth. But there are certain ways that can ascertain whether your guinea pig is suffering from blindness or is it general low sight they inherit.

You can tell that your guinea pig is blind or not by observing the way they behave at unfamiliar places. Also by simply moving around the objects in their cage or how do they act when they are at some different place. If a light is shone directly into a guinea pig’s eye, it reflects white instead of usual red for a normal eye.

If you find that your guinea pig is blind, then it should not be considered as a deal breaker; because blindness is something that most guinea pigs get over with.

They generally adapt and find a way to work things out with it. Something that you can do to make their lives simpler is by putting their water, food and play stuff in the exact same position as it was before blindness and don’t move it around.

Infections Of Guinea Pig Eyes

Exposure to excess amounts of bacteria, irritation or fungal bacteria can affect one or even both eyes of guinea pigs. Such infections need to be treated with proper antifungal and antibacterial medicines. It might experience hair loss around the infected area of the eye, discharge, redness known as conjunctivitis, swelling leading to eyes being closed.

For best treatment of such infections, a bacterial or fungal sample must be taken. It will let the vet know what kind of fungus or infection is growing around the guinea pig’s eye.

Further, an accurate treatment can be prescribed. If it’s experiencing a lot of discharge from the eyes they can tend to shut them due to swelling. You can clean the discharged liquid with a warm damp cloth and clean it off softly until you go to the vet.

The cleaning of the eye sometimes makes a big change to your guinea pigs’ sight. In order to prevent the occurrence of eye infections among guinea pigs keep their cage clean and provide them with a quality diet. If you notice something unusual in their routine due to weather take them to a vet immediately.

Symptoms Of Eye Problems For Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are used to snuffle in their bed, that’s why sometimes they get injuries in their eyes. This way eyes form an opaque covering which protects the eye during its healing phase.

Even if the object that has caused damage to the eye – a wood splinter or small piece of straw – the guinea pig shall be taken to the vet and removing it yourself isn’t a good idea at all.

Other signs of eye infections are their swelling, crustiness, excessive tear production and redness. Eyes sometimes become milky but apparently, there is no pain or redness. In such situations, it is likely to be a cataract that older guinea pigs are more likely to develop.

Prevention From The Occurrence Of Eye Problems

There is no such way to prevent the eye problems in guinea pigs for real because most infections are caused by inborn issues like in-turned eyelashes, old age or an accident. A vet should be consulted to check first if the pig is having trouble with the eyes. It will save you some money as well as the stress for your guinea pig.

While guinea pigs are very friendly and extrovert, they definitely don’t like going for vet surgeries or any such stressful occasions that they might have to face.

Are Guinea Pigs Are Able To See In The Dark?

It hasn’t been proven that guinea pigs are able to see in the dark but many people say that they have a night vision and are able to see in darkness. There are some factors that prove that guinea pigs are comfortable in dark places. Mostly they are part of a rodent family and rodents mostly have night vision.

They aren’t hesitant to go into the dark and they are prone to settle in dark areas as compared to the light areas. You can learn about this while observing where they like to sleep. They learn to move in the dark areas to escape predators because they are used to of moving in the dark tunnels and paths to be safe.

Eyes Of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pig’s eyes are positioned at the sides of their faces, allowing them to get a 340 degrees’ view. It is because they are prey animals who always need to be aware of any danger around them.

They have another advantage as well. They can look at 33 images in a single second in contrast to a human sight vision which only has the capacity of 22 images per second. This feature is capable of preventing the blurred vision when the guinea pig turns head.

How Do Guinea Pigs see Things?

The position of guinea pigs’ eyes let them see the things around and in front of them without moving their head. As they are prey animals, they depend on their memory to guide themselves. They recall where the tracks and tunnels are located to dodge predators. It lets them get back to their homes.

How Far Can Guinea Pigs See?

Usually, they can see only those things located within the range of one meter. They struggle to see things located beyond that limit. That’s why they rely on sound and smell to sense things going on in their surroundings and when someone approaches them.

How Do Guinea Pigs see Food?

Guinea pigs can’t see things clearly beyond their nose and follow their smelling sense to find food. They have a great smelling and hearing sense because they can keep track of the time and sense when food is due.

They often can hear the footsteps of their owner coming towards them. The moment they get the food they identify it by its smell rather than its vision.

Despite guinea pigs poor vision, they can see the full range of colors.

Poor Sight Risks

Guinea pigs were kept as pets in cages can be injured easily due to their poor sight. Being an owner, it’s your responsibility to avoid cages having ledges from where a guinea pig might fall. The owner also needs to be very careful of the guinea pig at the times when he’s playing.

If proper care isn’t taken they can crash into the walls due to their poor eyesight and they even might go bowling down the steps.

While they have the ability to use their eyesight for protection, they experience the lack of depth perception.

If the guinea pig is used to of being caged, a careless owner might place the guinea pig at the counter and it might fall off because of the inability to judge the distance between the counter height and the ground. It could result in a concussion, damaged limbs or even death. The understanding of the guinea pigs’ eyesight is necessary for its socializing.

Guinea pigs are amazing pets despite the restriction of their poor sight. They are playful and fun. They complement their sight through other senses.

Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.