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Bilateral phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation in a great horned owl

Renee T. CarterDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Christopher J. MurphyDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Charles M. StuhrAnimal Eye Clinic, 2 Pimpewaug Rd, Wilton, CT 06897

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Kathryn A. DiehlDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Abstract

Case Description—A great horned owl of estimated age < 1 year that was captured by wildlife rehabilitators was evaluated because of suspected cataracts.

Clinical Findings—Nuclear and incomplete cortical cataracts were evident in both eyes. Ocular ultrasonography revealed no evidence of retinal detachment, and electroretinography revealed normal retinal function.

Treatment and Outcome—For visual rehabilitation, cataract surgery was planned and intraocular lens design was determined on the basis of values obtained from the schematic eye, which is a mathematical model representing a normal eye for a species. Cataract surgery and intraocular lens placement were performed in both eyes. After surgery, refraction was within −0.75 diopters in the right eye and −0.25 diopters in the left eye. Visual rehabilitation was evident on the basis of improved tracking and feeding behavior, and the owl was eventually released into the wild.

Clinical Relevance—In raptors with substantial visual compromise, euthanasia or placement in a teaching facility is a typical outcome because release of such a bird is unacceptable. Successful intraocular lens implantation for visual rehabilitation and successful release into the wild are achievable.

Abstract

Case Description—A great horned owl of estimated age < 1 year that was captured by wildlife rehabilitators was evaluated because of suspected cataracts.

Clinical Findings—Nuclear and incomplete cortical cataracts were evident in both eyes. Ocular ultrasonography revealed no evidence of retinal detachment, and electroretinography revealed normal retinal function.

Treatment and Outcome—For visual rehabilitation, cataract surgery was planned and intraocular lens design was determined on the basis of values obtained from the schematic eye, which is a mathematical model representing a normal eye for a species. Cataract surgery and intraocular lens placement were performed in both eyes. After surgery, refraction was within −0.75 diopters in the right eye and −0.25 diopters in the left eye. Visual rehabilitation was evident on the basis of improved tracking and feeding behavior, and the owl was eventually released into the wild.

Clinical Relevance—In raptors with substantial visual compromise, euthanasia or placement in a teaching facility is a typical outcome because release of such a bird is unacceptable. Successful intraocular lens implantation for visual rehabilitation and successful release into the wild are achievable.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Carter's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.

Dr. Diehl's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Address correspondence to Dr. Murphy.