Slow loris' eyesight saved thanks to double cataract surgery

Credit: Paignton Zoo

A last-ditch attempt to save the eyesight of a rare primate a Paignton Zoo has been a success.

Gloria, the pygmy slow loris underwent double cataract surgery to bring her vision back.

She arrived at the Zoo two years ago with cataracts in both eyes and her problems have become more severe since. It meant the only option was to carry out surgery to remove her opaque lenses, allowing light to get to the retina and restore her sight.

Credit: Paignton Zoo

The surgeon first performed an ultrasound check of the eyes to make sure there were no other problems which would prevent the surgery from being effective.

Gloria was then given general anaesthetic followed by a procedure called phacoemulsification, during which the lens of the eye is emulsified with ultrasound and removed from the eye by irrigation and aspiration, to be replaced with a balanced salt solution.

Credit: Paignton Zoo

Gloria may now find focussing on objects very close to her difficult as she has no lenses, but she should otherwise soon regain good sight.

Slow lorises have large eyes because they are nocturnal and they have a very big light-reflecting area at the back of the eye to maximise the available light at night.

Ghislaine Sayers, Head of Veterinary Services, Paignton Zoo