Kicker – An unusual cataract surgery


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Eye surgeon Dr. Chris Heichel has done thousands of cataract surgeries on people over his career. But last month was a first for him. 

A 3-year-old patient named Leslie came in for help. 

But it wasn’t the patient’s age that made this procedure different from the others. It was her species

Leslie is a gorilla from the San Diego Zoo. 

A team of veterinarians, anesthesiologists and ophthalmologists from UC San Diego Health convened for the task. 

With their help, Dr. Heichel removed the cloudy lens from Leslie’s eye, and replaced it with an artificial lens that should last for the rest of her life.

He said the anatomy of human and gorilla eyes are similar enough that he didn’t have any problems fixing  her eye. 

And now he can add gorilla cataracts to his business card!

It’s The World and Everything in It.


(Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Global via AP) In this 2019 photo provide by San Diego Zoo Global, Chris W. Heichel, MD, a cataract surgery specialist at Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health, and his team examine Leslie, a western lowland gorilla, in a machine at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Center in San Diego. 

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