m
Recent Posts
Connect with:
Monday / June 24.
HomeminewsNew Zealand Penguin Makes Full Cataract Surgery Recovery

New Zealand Penguin Makes Full Cataract Surgery Recovery

Cardi, a seven-year-old gentoo penguin from Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand, has made a full recovery from the cataract surgery she underwent in April.

The surgery, a first-of-its kind for the species in New Zealand, was commenced after Cardi developed vision-blocking cataracts in both eyes. Staff at the aquarium were concerned the cataracts would continue to develop, causing further vision loss.

As gentoo penguins are a social species, this disruption to Cardi’s usual behaviour had a clear impact on her quality of life

The operating team were supplied specialist equipment, which differed from the ophthalmic equipment used on human patients, and were supported by vets from Auckland Zoo who specialise in animal anaesthesia.

Cardi’s cataracts were much more advanced than those seen in a regular patient, as most humans would have had cataract surgery much earlier due to the severe impact on vision.

The severity of Cardi’s cataracts, however, were only detected when penguin keepers at the Aquarium noticed her startle easily when they, or other penguins, moved around her. She also had a hunched posture and often angled her head to attempt to achieve better vision.

As gentoo penguins are a social species, this disruption to Cardi’s usual behaviour had a clear impact on her quality of life.

Dr Peter Hadden, retinal and cataract surgeon at the Eye Institute, Auckland, successfully removed the cataract from Cardi’s right eye. Following surgery, she was placed into a smaller, pool-free enclosure for three weeks to ensure drops and medication could be reliably administered as the eye healed.

Since her surgery, Cardi has made a full recovery and no longer displays any symptoms of vision loss. The team at Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium have also reported a dramatic change in her confidence.