Jumbos also suffer from eye disorders like cataract, partial blindness: Experts

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Jumbos also suffer from eye disorders like cataract, partial blindness: Experts

Thursday, 12 May 2022 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

One of the reasons  that a Parliamentary panel chaired by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh cautioned against encouraging the sale and purchase of captive elephants hinged on the plight of the country’s largest mammal which faces a range of eye-diseases/disorders such as cataract or corneal ulcers.

Jumbos also  often suffer from disorders in the retina, cornea, and lenses that make the eye irreparable.Other ocular conditions that are common to rescued elephants include uveitis (eye inflammation), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), and partial blindness. Older elephants are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections, while younger elephants may develop corneal ulcers or keratitis, according to experts from Wildlife SOS India.

No doubt, elephants may be known as the largest land mammal but when it comes to their eyes, particularly those in captivity. According to wildlife experts, other ocular conditions that are common to rescued elephants include uveitis (eye inflammation), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), and partial blindness.

Older elephants are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections, while younger elephants may develop corneal ulcers or keratitis, according to the experts from Wildlife SOS India.

Veterinary ophthalmology has not taken as many strides as other aspects of veterinary medicine have. Thus, ocular diseases and disorders in animals continue to be a field of exploration for many in India.

 a field our veterinary team is willing to delve into.

“Currently, we are seeking funds for a tono pen, a tool used to determine intraocular pressure. We are also seeking an eye ultrasound machine to help us gain a deeper understanding of the eye health of our resident elephants,” said the experts.

According to a survey and classify anterior ocular abnormalities in 1478 captive Asian elephants  in six regions of Thailand, a few years ago, eyes were found to be affected in the majestic jumbos..

Anterior ocular examination was performed in both eyes (n = 2956) of 1478 elephants selected from the annual health check program involving 2958 animals within six regions of Thailand from January to November 2013. Lesions were described and compared between age and gender.

The most common lesions in the  examined eyes of the jumbos were frothy ocular discharge (5.85 per cent), corneal edema (5.31 per cent), and conjunctivitis (5.18 per cent). In addition, epiphora, phthisis bulbi, other corneal abnormalities, anterior uveitis, and lens abnormalities were noted. Almost all lesions increased in frequency with age increase, said the study.

 

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