In a First, Falcon Has Cataract Surgery

4-year-old Banner gets new lenses, will be able to hunt again
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 30, 2014 1:11 PM CDT
In a First, Falcon Has Cataract Surgery
File photo of a falcon.   (Shutterstock)

It's a birding milestone: A falcon in New Hampshire has undergone eye surgery to remove cataracts and has received new synthetic lenses. Banner, a 4-year-old falcon, lost its sight and hasn't been able to fly or hunt for the past two years. This week, a team at Capital Veterinary Emergency Services in Concord removed the cataracts and put in artificial lenses in the hour-long procedure. The Concord Monitor reports that I-Med, a Canadian ophthalmology supply manufacturer, donated the 6-milimeter-wide lenses. Dozens of people in Montreal, California, Ohio, Germany, and Abu Dhabi were involved in their design. A surgeon and veterinary ophthalmologist donated their time for the operation.

Banner's owners, Nancy and Jim Cowan of the New Hampshire School of Falconry in Deering, say it's the first time this surgery has been done on a falcon. Banner will need anti-inflammatory eye drops for a few weeks to make sure her eyelids don't become too irritated by the sutures in her corneas. But so far so good: Nancy Cowan held Banner on her glove as Jim Cowan shook a leather tassel a few feet away. He smiled when Banner turned toward it. "You can see something all right," he said. "You can see something." (More falcon stories.)

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