Saturday, 2 June 2012

Elephant to get contact lenses - via D R Shoop

It was a jumbo-sized problem that needed a tusk force of the brightest minds in animal medicine. C’sar the African bull elephant kept bumping into things after cataracts left him with blurry vision. 

This week the 38-year-old animal had pioneering eye surgery to correct the problem – before vets can fit him with mammoth contact lenses. 

A successful two-hour operation on Tuesday removed the second of C’Sar’s two cataracts in an almost unprecedented procedure at North Carolina Zoo in the US. 

Unfortunately, damaged eye tissue means that there is not be enough support for his tailor-made lenses yet, so vets now hope to perform that operation in the autumn.

Dr Ryan DeVoe, a senior vet at the zoo, said the ‘artificial lens implants’ would mark ‘a first in the history of veterinary medical care for elephants’ 

Win Thida, an Asian elephant at a zoo in Amsterdam, was fitted with a contact lens in January. 
However, this was not to correct the animal’s vision – but to allow a wound to heal after the 45-year-old scratched her cornea during a scuffle with another member of the herd.

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