Elephant gets contact lens

Elephant Contact Lens

The idea of elephants wearing contact lenses may seem absurd at first. But when their vision has clouded to the point of total impairment, people find strange ways to help them get better.

Take for example the case of Win Thida, a 45-year-old Asian elephant living in Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo. Her cornea was badly injured during a scuffle with her jumbo pals so a veterinarian decided to put a contact lens over the patient’s eye.

The operation is delicate and requires special training for veterinarians. Vet Anne-Marie Verbruggen, who had only ever put contact lenses into horses, had to use a ladder to reach the elephant’s left eye and perform the procedure– which lasted just under an hour.

“The main difficulty was her height,” Verbruggen said. “Elephants can’t lie down for long before their immense weight impairs their breathing, so I used a ladder to get close enough. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. She seemed happier straight away.”

Win Thida, the oldest elephant in the zoo’s herd, is expected to make a full recovery.