North Carolina zoo elephant may receive contact lenses

June 29, 2012 by  

Officials from the College of Veterinary Medicine from the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, together with the North Carolina Zoo in Ashebor, announced last week that they are considering fitting C’sar, a 38-year old bull elephant at the zoo since 1978, with corrective lenses.

The Zoo and the College are no doubt using flyer printing and poster printing to inform the local community of this pioneering move in medicine for pachyderms so as to garner support for their efforts. The quirky and interesting story may also attract customers to the zoo.

According to Ryan DeVoe, a senior veterinarian, zookeepers first noticed in 2010 that the eyes of the 12,000-pound African bull elephant were cloudy and that the elephant seemed depressed, as he was just standing, leaning against walls, and eventually losing 1,000 pounds.

In October 2011 and May 2012, C’sar underwent cataract surgery performed by Richard McMullen, assistant professor of veterinary ophthalmology at North Carolina State University. After those surgeries, C’sar started perking up and regaining some of the weight he had lost but was left far-sighted when both of his eyes suffered the removal their natural lenses.

The contact lenses which would be created by the Berman-based Archivet would be larger than those of a horse and about three times larger than those for humans, at a size of half a millimeter in thickness and 38 millimeters in diameter. C’sar would not be able to wear the lenses until August when his eyes are healed from the cataract surgery.

According to McMullen, C’sar’s well-being could be further increased if he were to be fitted with the lenses.