Gorilla receives cataract surgery
Author: Yiannis Kotoulas
Cataract surgery specialist Dr Chris Heichel recently performed an unusual eye surgery at San Diego Zoo, California alongside a team of experts.
Dr Heichel had previously completed thousands of successful cataract removals, but none of them had been on a gorilla. ‘Fortunately, the similarities between the anatomy of human and gorilla eyes are great enough to safely navigate the procedure without complication,’ he explained.
Zookeepers noticed that Leslie, a three-year-old female western lowland gorilla, had cloudiness in her left eye. Considering Leslie’s young age, veterinarians organised a selection of ophthalmologists and anaesthesiologists to perform an operation to restore her full vision.
The operation was routine bar the presence of veterinarians and Leslie’s general anaesthesia. Anaesthesiologists utilised pharmaceutical muscle blockers to prevent eye movement before Dr Heichel replaced the clouded lens with an artificial insert.
Kokamo, Leslie’s 31-year-old mother, was also anaesthetised during Leslie’s procedure so that she would not be caused stress by the removal of her child.
Leslie has since recovered and happily returned to playing with her troop.