Cataract Surgery Performed On Penguins At SeaWorld

29 Sep 2014

A total of four SeaWorld Orlando penguins, one rockhopper and three Gentoo, are healing nicely after receiving a specialty surgery on August 28th 2014 to remove cataracts at Animal Eye Associates in Maitland, Florida. The surgery was performed by veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Heidi Denis, who specialises in animal ophthalmology.

“As penguins get older they begin to show age-related health issues, just like humans,” said Dr. Lara Croft, SeaWorld Senior Veterinarian. “One of these signs is cataracts – a clouding of the eye lens that affects their quality of vision and quality of life. Thanks to this surgery, these four penguins will eventually regain vision and can return to normal behaviours, including eating on their own and swimming.”

The four penguins range in age from early to late 20s, which exceeds the life expectancy of their wild counterparts. Older penguins in the wild with compromised vision would most likely succumb to predators or starvation.

SeaWorld aviculturists noticed some of the older penguins in the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin habitat weren’t eating and needed to be hand-fed. The vets arranged a consultation with eye specialists, and the ophthalmology team at Animal Eye Associates cleared the penguins for the procedure.