Are Guinea Pigs Blind and How Good Is Their Eyesight?

Are Guinea Pigs Blind_

Just like many other exotic pet animals, guinea pigs are also prone to some eye diseases. Due to various eye diseases, it is important to track guinea pig’s eye health. Some of the guinea pig 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/disease.

Are guinea pigs blind and how good is their eyesight? Guinea pigs aren’t blind, but they don’t have a good eyesight. Despite their poor eyesight guinea pigs are not color blind. Their eyes are positioned on the sides of their face, which allows them to have a 340-degree field of vision, which is pretty impressive. A healthy guinea pig has large, moist and bright eyes. Despite the bright appearance of their eyes and an impressive field of vision, guinea pigs can’t see a detailed image but they can feel and see any movement in their field of vision. This is why guinea pigs also have a highly developed sense of smell and auditory perception which they combine with their eyesight in order to move around and survive. 

The question that whether guinea pigs can see or not has intrigued owners for years. However, there are guinea pigs that are blind but they are also able to live comparatively a normal life.

They use noises/sounds to tell other guinea pigs about their location, movements, and feelings. Otherwise, it is improbable that they will ever find each other in the wild. Guinea pigs can become blind for several reasons but it is nothing to be deemed as a disaster. This is because they hardly see their paws in front of their face even with the best possible eye health conditions.

In the following sections, we are going to go more in-depth about the guinea pig eyesight. This topic is very important as their eyes are pretty sensitive and there are many eye conditions that they can get which can drastically impact their overall health. Let’s start!

Guinea Pig Eyesight: Information and Fact

Guinea Pig Eyesight Information and Fact

Guinea pig’s eyes are positioned at the sides of their faces, allowing them to get a 340-degree field of vision. It is very important in the wild 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 they quickly turn their head around.


How Do Guinea Pigs See Things?

The position of guinea pigs’ eyes lets 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.

They can’t see a detailed image in front of them, they use multiple senses to understand the image and their surroundings.


How Far Can Guinea Pigs See?

Usually, they can see only things located within the range of one meter. They struggle to see things located beyond that distance mark. 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?

How Do Guinea Pigs See Food

Guinea pigs can’t see things clearly beyond their nose and they follow their smelling sense to find food and to distingue it. They have a great sense of smell 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.


Can Guinea Pigs See Color?

Are guinea pigs color blind? Despite guinea pig’s poor vision, they can see a good range of colors. In some experiments, it was noted that guinea pigs have a dichromatic vision but it is really not that simple to explain.

This is all a little bit scientific but in short, they have a higher sensitivity towards the green color. Additionally, they can distinguish green blue, yellow and red colors. This pallet of color is enough to say that guinea pigs are not color blind.

Related: Can Guinea Pigs See In Color?


Can Guinea Pigs See in the Dark?

Can Guinea Pigs 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 are used to moving in the dark tunnels to escape predators.


Risks of Poor Eyesight in Guinea Pigs

Risks of Poor Eyesight in Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs that are kept as pets in cages can be injured easily due to their poor sight. Being an owner, it’s your responsibility to avoid cages that have ledges from where a guinea pig might fall. The owner also needs to be very careful when the guinea pig is playing around the house.

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 can sometimes experience a 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 eyesight through other senses.


How to Tell That Guinea Pig Is Blind: Instructions

How to Tell That Guinea Pig Is Blind Instructions

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

You can tell that your guinea pig is blind or not by observing the way they behave in unfamiliar places. Also by simply moving around the objects in their cage or how they act when these objects are at some different place. Also one of the signs is 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, it should not be considered as a deal-breaker; because blindness is something that most guinea pigs get with time.


They generally adapt and find a way to work things out with blindness. 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. Their memory is pretty good and they will remember the position of those items.


Guinea Pig Eye Infections: Symptoms, Prevention and More

Guinea Pig Eye Infections Symptoms, Prevention and More

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 the 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, 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.

Related: Guinea Pig Illnesses A-Z (Full List of Health Problems)


Symptoms of Guinea Pig Eye Problems

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

If the guinea pig has a wood splinter or small piece of straw in their eye, it needs to be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Removing it yourself isn’t a good idea at all.

Other signs of eye infections are swelling, crustiness, excessive tear production and redness. Guinea pig’s eyes can sometimes become milky, which is possibly a cataract that older guinea pigs are more likely to develop.

Related: Guinea Pig’s Health Symptom Checker: Top 10 Warning Signs


Prevention of the Eye Problems in Guinea Pigs

There is no real way to prevent problems related to guinea pig’s eyes and their eyesight because most infections are caused by inborn issues like inverted eyelashes, old age or an accident.

The best way to check if the guinea pig is having trouble with the eyes is to consult a vet. It will save you some money and as well prevent your guinea pig from being stressed.

Are Guinea Pigs Blind and How Good Is Their Eyesight_1

Summary

Having a clear understanding of how guinea pigs see or perceive us (the owners) is extremely important for developing a strong bond with your pet. Also knowing more about their eyesight and potential problems that can arise can prevent possible disasters or even in some cases death (fall from a desk or something similar).

There are a lot of cases where a piece of hay can get stuck in their eye, for this, it is also best if you go to the vet. You can take it out by yourself but have in mind that you can make matters even worse in some cases.

Take care of your guinea pigs and their eyes, if you notice any problems it is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

We really hope that you found our article useful and that you are going to keep following us! Best of luck!

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Close Their Eyes?


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Miles, R. C., Ratoosh, P., Meyer, D. R., Absence of color vision in guinea pig, Journal of Neurophysiology, 1956.

Watkins, N. G., Hadlow, W. J., Moos, A. B., Caldwell, H. D., Ocular delayed hypersensitivity: a pathogenetic mechanism of chlamydial-conjunctivitis in guinea pigs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1986.

O’Hara, M. P., Dyer, R. S., Locomotor exploratory activity in blind and normal guinea pigs, Physiology & behavior, 1974.

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Zeng, G., Bowrey, H. E., Fang, J., Qi, Y., McFadden, S. A., The development of eye shape and the origin of lower field myopia in the guinea pig eye, Vision research, 2013.

Pérez-Merino, P., Velasco-Ocana, M., Martinez-Enriquez, E., Revuelta, L., McFadden, S. A., Marcos, S., Three-dimensional OCT based guinea pig eye model: relating morphology and optics, Biomedical optics express, 2017.

Lewin, D. R., Thompson, J. N., Pitt, G. A., Howell, J. M., Blindness resulting from vitamin A deficiency in albino and pigmented guinea pigs and rats, Int Z Vitaminforsch, 1970.

Racine, J., Behn, D., Simard, E., Lachapelle, P., Spontaneous occurrence of a potentially night blinding disorder in guinea pigs, Documenta ophthalmologica. Advances in ophthalmology, 2003.

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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.