Blind Dog Undergoes Cataract Surgery

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Mumbai:  A dog blinded by cataract underwent surgery at the Parel animal hospital on Saturday. Such an operation is rather unusual among animals, say doctors. Zoey, a male Labrador aged about five, was operated in the right eye by a team of doctors from Mumbai Veterinary College with the help of a human eye doctor.

Zoey was found tethered to a pole outside the SPCA Hospital at Parel in 2016, possibly by an animal breeder, said Kirti Bhardwaj from Animal Adoption Crusaders, an association of animal lovers that works closely with SPCA.

“Zoey could not see at all and used to bump into walls and poles. We tried to get him adopted, but his blindness was a hindrance,” said Bhardwaj, adding that SPCA authorities were kind enough to arrange for the surgery.

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The operation is quite like in humans. “Cataract is a condition in which a curtain-like membrane covers the cornea, thereby blocking vision. The surgery entails removing this membrane so that vision is restored,” said Dr Khanna. “Quite likely this dog will be able to see again. Though the vision may not be normal, it will surely be better and the dog will have a better quality of life.”

Dr Swaranjit Bhatti, a human eye surgeon who helped perform the surgery, said “The lens fibre had become opaque and rock hard due to overmaturity. Before the surgery, the dog could not see at all, but from tomorrow itself it will be able to see. About 40 % of normal vision should be restored. It will make the dog more mobile.”

Dr Mayur Dangar, manager of SPCA, said that such a surgery is unusual at the hospital. “Earlier, we operated on a stray dog for cataract. That surgery was successful too,” he said.

Until Saturday, Zoey used to sniff around to find his way. “Life is tough for anyone who can’t see,” said Bhardwaj. “We hope this surgery helps Zoey bounce back to life.”