Pioneering eagle eye surgery
Issued: Tue, 12 Feb 2008 12:37:00 GMT
Surgeons from the University of Glasgow’s Small Animal Hospital have restored the sight of a golden eagle.
The bird underwent pioneering eye surgery after it flew into electricity cables badly damaging its eyesight.
It is believed the shock caused a cataract to develop and the 14lb bird of prey was taken to the Small Animal Hospital where the tricky surgery was carried out. It is the first time a procedure to remove a cataract caused by trauma has been carried out on a golden eagle.
The bird was found on the island of Mull by staff from the Wings Over Mull bird sanctuary, who brought it the University of Glasgow.
Putting birds under general anaesthetic is considered very risky as the shock often kills them. But it was decided that without sight, the bird’s future was bleak.
Ophthalmologist George Peplinski carried out the surgery on the bird’s right eye. However, a second cataract operation on the other eye was ruled out.
He said: “With such a small chance of any improvement I don't think it was justified. We worked on the eye that we know is the healthiest and we are best just leaving it there and not risking a prolonged anaesthetic and a prolonged recovery.”
The bird, named Electra, is now a permanent resident at the Wings Over Mull sanctuary, as with its reduced eyesight, it could not survive in the wild.