Posted: 23.03.2023 14:50:00

Penguins receive ‘world first’ custom lenses

Three elderly king penguins have been fitted with custom-made eye lenses during surgery to remove cataracts in what is believed to be a world first procedure to improve their sight, according to a Singapore zoo


In a statement, vets with the Mandai Wildlife Group said the birds were among six elderly penguins to undergo cataract surgery two months ago and have since made a full recovery. They include three king penguins age 20 and older, and three Humboldt penguins, ages 7 to 13, which live in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park.
“We noticed the cloudiness in their (eyes) and moving about like they were having difficulty seeing things in front of them,” said veterinarian Ellen Rasidi.
The king penguins received custom-made intraocular lens implants, said Gladys Boo, a veterinary ophthalmologist who took part in the surgeries, which she said marked ‘a milestone in veterinary medicine’.
The lenses were custom-made in Germany with precise measurements to fit each penguin’s eye — a process that took two months, Boo said.
“As a larger species, the king penguins have eyes large and stable enough to hold the custom lenses in place so we decided to pursue this world-first procedure to further improve their vision above removing the cataract,” she said.
Zookeepers and vets said they observed ‘an increase in responsiveness and activity levels’ in the penguins.

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