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My fishes eyes are bulging out of their sockets. What does this mean and what should I do?

Most often, you see this in young Koi and Goldfish being maintained in water which is of poor quality, and especially when high ammonia levels exist. Tests should be run on your system's water, to establish that the Ammonia levels are safe and low.

Popeye, or exophthalmia is the condition of an eye wherein it protrudes from its normal position in a socket.
 
For years in the literature, the causes of exophthalmia were few, and almost all literature surveyed suggested it was a mycobacterial infection, or Tuberculosis forming an abscess or granuloma behind the eye.
 

In this case, that may very well be true, and you should be aware that there are few drugs effective against piscine tuberculosis, there are even fewer that can access the space behind the eye. In humans, these infections are still hard to treat becasue the space behind the eye is isolated from real good vascular supply. As well, tuberculosis, particularly the one for fish, is transmissable to humans through open sores. I'm not saying it's always TB, but it could be, so avoid contact.
 
Other causes of pop eye include viral and other causes of inflammation to the Choroid or vessels leading to the eyeball itself, and trauma ranks high in this group. If the eye does not get picked OFF when it protrudes like this, it is entirely possible that it could actually pull back in as the swelling behind the eye reduces.
 
Let me say a word or two more about bacterial or TB pop eye. It spreads slowly, and gets its foothold through stress. Be sure water quality is optimal, and that the diet and temperature are perfect for the chosen species you maintain. You can try antibiotics with this, even injected ones if the fish warrants it, but I really suggest you not get your hopes up.



Fish disease problems? Need some help? The help pages take you through the basics of the 'fish health work-up' diagnosis method and basic fish disease treatment methods.

90% of all health problems and fish deaths are caused by poor fish keeping! The key pages are essential reading for all beginners and intermediates who are serious about disease prevention.

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Expanded Content by Dr. Erik Johnson, DrJohnson.com and Used with Permission; Frank Prince-Iles ©2009 All Rights Reserved