California gorilla treated for cataract

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A team of eye experts has operated on an unusual patient — a gorilla.

A cataract was removed last December 10 from the left eye of a three-year-old western lowland gorilla who lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the park announced on Monday.

The gorilla, named Leslie, was given a muscle blocker to keep her still while a team that included vets along with anesthesiologists and an ophthalmology team from UC San Diego Health removed the cloudy lens and replaced it with an artificial lens that should last for life.

The operation was performed at the San Diego Zoo Global’s Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Centre.

Cataract surgeon Chris Heichel, who led the team and has performed thousands of operations, said it was his first on a gorilla.

Leslie will need antibiotics and steroids to prevent infection and inflammation, but she is already back with the troop at the park.

File photo shows Leslie, a western lowland gorilla, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Centre in San Diego. PHOTO: AP