Solar, the seal. Photo: Adam Ratner, the Marine Mammal Center
With their big eyes seals seem to be looking straight into the hearts of onlookers. That some of these animals are blind is something most people never thought about. The Marine Mammal Center in San Francisco has been successful in giving some of these seals their vision back thanks to cataract operations.
“When Solar the northern elephant seal arrived in our care, he appeared to be just another young, malnourished animal. But when our veterinary experts took a closer look, they realized he was blind in both eyes due to cataracts that may have been congenital, meaning he was born with them.
If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Just a year ago, you may remember we rescued and treated another young, blind elephant seal: Cappy. After successful cataract surgery, Cappy was able to return to the wild. He’s since been spotted several times and seems to be thriving. Using what we learned from Cappy’s case, our veterinary team is working hard to ensure a similar future for Solar.
Blindness in seals and sea lions is not as uncommon as you might think, and over the last few months, we’ve rescued a number of animals that are blind in one or both eyes.”