What is a cataract?
The normal lens of any animal is clear and colorless. A cataract is a increase in the density or opacity of the lens (or its capsule) of the eye often observed as a whiteness visible in the pupil.
What causes cataracts?
Cataracts are usually age related and often involve both eyes. Other causes should be explored including nutritional problems, traumatic events, metabolic diseases (like diabetes), inflammatory problems and infections. Cataracts are often seen in canaries and less so in Amazons, African Grey parrots and macaws. In canaries, cataracts are inherited.
Are there any treatments for cataracts?
Surgical removal is possible depending on the size of the bird and should be discussed with your avian veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Will a cataract affect my bird’s vision?
It will decrease the visual acuity of the bird and may lead to blindness.
What should I do if my bird becomes blind?
As a general comment, a healthy bird who is blind will usually do very well. Many owners are not aware of the fact that their bird is blind until a veterinarian points it out to them. It is important not to rearrange the perches, toys and food dishes in a blind birds cage since they know exactly where everything is. They will also startle easily if you approach too fast so let them know you are there verbally.