A five-year-old lion in the western Indian state of Gujarat is recovering his vision after doctors performed cataract surgery on both his eyes.
Officials at the Gir forest – the last abode of the Asiatic lion – first noticed something was wrong when the lion stopped responding even when prey was nearby. They then took him to a rescue centre, where an examination showed he had mature cataracts in both eyes.
A cataract surgery involves replacing the eye’s natural lens with one made out of plastic. They are routinely performed on smaller animals such as dogs.
To prepare for operating on the lion, the doctors read research papers and spoke to experts. They also studied an eye sample obtained from the post-mortem of a dead lion to understand the anatomical structure.
The lion is now recovering from the surgery and will be released back in the forest soon.