Duchess the elephant has UK’s first cataract op
Zookeepers are carefully monitoring an elephant who was the first in the UK to undergo an eye operation, to discover how much of her sight has returned.
Duchess was said to be recovering well after yesterday’s operation to remove a cataract from her left eye.
Paignton Zoo’s 42-year-old African elephant had her right eye removed in 2011 because of glaucoma, and has lately become practically blind.
Neil Bemment, curator of mammals and director of operations at the zoo, said staff had high hopes for the operation’s success. “It couldn’t have gone better,” he said. “She went down very smoothly under the anaesthetic and the operation went as well as we could hope.”
Mr Bemment said Duchess was still “disorientated” from the procedure and was being kept out of view with plenty of reassurance from staff.
“Her sight had deteriorated to the point where she could only tell the difference between light and shade,” Mr Bemment said. “We’re hoping that his will restore her sight for most distances. She won’t be able to read about herself in the newspaper, but we’re hopeful that she will be more familiar in her surroundings.”