Bird regains sight after first ever cataract surgery

If there is ever a story about cataract surgery that always seem to be newsworthy, its the one where the world’s first (insert appropriate animal) gets cataract surgery. A while back it was a panda, before that it was an owl, before that even it was an elephant.

Now its the turn of the falcon who has had cataract surgery in Deering, New England, America. The owners noticed that something was wrong when the bird was not responding accordingly to glove training. They then noticed a white spot in the bird’s eye which was diagnosed as a cataract. This got worse in both eyes. The bird was confined to the owners bedroom and separated from the other birds.

We have been performing private cataract surgery in humans for quite some time now and I will be blogging on the history of human cataract surgery later but I know little about cataract surgery in the animal population.

The challenges faced here (as in any animal I suppose)is the anaesthesia required to perform surgery, the understanding of the anatomy of the falcon eye, the size of the eye – it is quite small, determining accurate measurements of the eye to be able to calculate the prescription power of the new synthetic lens and the difficulty in implanting a replacement synthetic lens so that the bird can see again for the right distance.

This is no mean feat and I commend the vet who is taking on the challenge. I hope we have a follow-up story on the improved vision the falcon has – all too often we don’t hear too much about how that panda, owl or elephant got on post-operatively.

I am looking forward to the world’s first cataract surgery in a crocodile.