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Gorilla receives cataract surgery at San Diego zoo

A three-year-old western lowland gorilla has had an artificial lens implanted


Eye care experts and veterinarians have collaborated to perform cataract surgery on Leslie, a three-year-old western lowland gorilla, at San Diego Zoo.

Dr Chris Heichel, a cataract surgery specialist from the Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health, removed a cloudy lens in the gorilla’s left eye and replaced it with an artificial lens.

Leslie will receive topical and oral antibiotics and steroids to prevent infection and control inflammation following the procedure.

Zoo staff suspect that the cataract is the result of an earlier injury, either from a fall while the gorilla was practising her climbing skills or sustained while playing with other gorillas.

The cataract surgery was the first that Dr Heichel has performed on a gorilla.

“Fortunately, the similarities between the anatomy of human and gorilla eyes are great enough to allow us to safely navigate the procedure without complication,” Dr Heichel observed.

“The remainder of the eye appeared to be in excellent health, indicating exceptional visual potential for the rest of Leslie’s life,” he said.

Image credit: Pixabay/Alexas_Fotos