Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in small animal health. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.
This does sound like it may be an infection, but it is more serious than a common cold. The crusty eye and sneezing do point to a respiratory infection. The bulging eye may be another story.
There are two possible causes of a bulging eye in hamsters. One is glaucoma. This is when the pressure of fluids inside the eye builds up beyond normal levels, causing the eye to bulge. No one knows why hamsters get glaucoma, and there is no treatment in hamsters. The eye can be removed, but the surgery is expensive, and surgery of any kind is risky in hamsters. Most vets don't treat glaucoma in hamsters, but let it run its course. The bulging will get worse and worse, until the eye prolapses out of its socket. It will eventually dry up and come off. Hamsters adjust well to living with one eye.
However, there are other possible causes of a bulging eye that can be treated. An infection is one, and that can be treated with antibiotics. A dental problem can put pressure on the eye from behind, as can an abscess, a tumor, or an impacted cheek pouch. Because there are conditions that can be treated, it's best to have a vet examine a hamster with a bulging eye. This is even more important in your hamster's case since there are other symptoms. The following links will take you to directories of vets who treat small rodents. At the first site, you'll come to a log-in page. Sign in as 'member' and use 'member' as your password ***** well.
In the meantime, you can soothe the eyes by putting in a drop of saline solution (the kind made for contact lenses) every few hours. That won't cure anything, but can make the eyes feel better.
If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your hamster will be fine.
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