Gujarat: How doctors saved a lion from going blind

A five-year-old lion in the western Indian state of Gujarat is recovering his sight after doctors performed cataract surgery on both his eyes.

Officials from the Gir Forest — the Asiatic lion’s last abode — first noticed something was wrong when the lion stopped responding, even when prey was nearby. They then took him to a shelter, where an examination revealed that he had adult cataracts in both eyes.

In cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is replaced with a plastic lens. They are routinely performed on smaller animals such as dogs.

To prepare for surgery 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 its anatomical structure.

The lion is now recovering from the surgery and will soon be released back into the forest.

Video by Hanif Khokhar, BBC Gujarati.