Author(s): Kuhn SE, Jones MP, Hendrix DV, Ward DA, Baine KH
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Abstract Sixteen adult captive bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) underwent a complete bilateral ocular examination to assess normal ocular parameters and describe ophthalmic lesions. Tear production was measured with the Schirmer tear test 1 and intraocular pressure was measured with applanation tonometry. The menace response was normal bilaterally in 13 of 16 eagles. Two birds had normal menace responses despite having fundic lesions, and 2 birds with an inconsistent or absent menace response did not have appreciable ophthalmic lesions. Mean (SD) tear production was 14 +/- 2 mm/min (range, 8-19 mm/min). Mean intraocular pressure was 21.5 +/- 1.7 mm Hg (range, 15-26 mm Hg). At least 1 ocular lesion was present in 50\% of examined eyes. Cataracts, the most common lesion observed, were present in 8 eyes of 5 birds. Three of 4 known geriatric birds were or had been affected with bilateral cataracts. Overall, ocular lesions are common in captive bald eagles, and cataracts appear to be more prevalent in geriatric bald eagles. An obvious positive menace response is present in most visual birds but may be absent in some eagles that are either normal or that do not have appreciable ophthalmic lesions. Applanation tonometry and the Schirmer tear test 1 can be performed easily on adult bald eagles and provide reproducible results.
This article was published in J Avian Med Surg
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology