SAN DIEGO: California's team of few eye doctors recently carried out cataract surgery on a not so ordinary patient, which is a western lowland gorilla.
An eye surgeon, who was working with San Diego Zoo Safari Park's veterinarians, removed a cataract from the left eye of the animal on the 10th December. The gorilla was a three-year-old female who was named Leslie. It was performed at the zoo's medical care center and was reported that Leslie was recovering well.
Chris Heichel was the doctor who performed the surgery and revealed that this was his first on such an unusual patient even though he has successfully carried out thousands of eye surgeries on human patients. Stating that the procedure was easily handled, he said, "Fortunately, the similarities between the anatomy of human and gorilla eyes are great enough to allow us to safely navigate the procedure without complication."
The cloudy lens from Leslie's left eye was removed and an artificial lens was inserted in order to provide a clear vision to her. "The remainder of the eye appeared to be in excellent health, indicating exceptional vision potential for the rest of Leslie’s life," added Heichal.
The zoo officials guessed that the cataract was the result of an injury that might have taken place when Leslie would have been playing with the younger gorilla troops or had a fall.
For the uninitiated, a cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye that ultimately results in decreased eyesight. Mostly it develops overtime during any living being's aging process and it can lead to negligible vision, if not treated properly. After it is developed, the lens gradually becomes cloudier and thus the vision keeps on degrading.