Pop-eye

This is a nonspecific term where the eye protrudes abnormally from its socket. It can affect one or both eyes, and may be part of a more widespread disease. The protrusion can be due to a build-up of fluid behind the eye caused by a systemic virus or bacterial infection. The development of abscesses or a tumour inside or behind the eye may also cause it to protrude, as can gas bubbles in some marine fish. The eyes require careful examination under an anaesthetic to determine the underlying cause before treatment is considered.

Pop-eye in a goldfish
Pop-eye in a goldfish

A systemic bacterial infection has caused fluid to build up behind the left eye causing it to protrude. The fish responded to antibiotics given by injection and baths.

Pop-eye with 'dropsy'
Pop-eye with 'dropsy'

Fluid collecting behind the eye is often present along with fluid in the scale pockets or body cavity, and is commonly called ‘dropsy’. Both eyes are protruding in this case.

Pop-eye in marine fish
Pop-eye in marine fish

Gas bubbles can develop behind the eye due to a fault with water pumps (‘gas bubble disease’), and also disease of the blood supply to the retina, as seen below the left eye in this Caribbean blue bass.

Pop-eye in a goldfish
Pop-eye in a goldfish

A systemic bacterial infection has caused fluid to build up behind the left eye causing it to protrude. The fish responded to antibiotics given by injection and baths.

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