This young cheetah was presented to us with entropion. This is a condition where the eyelids are inverted and leads to severe discomfort and irritation to the cornea. If left untreated it will lead to blindness.

Antony performed surgery and the eyelids were everted into their normal position. This cheetah made an uneventful recovery and is leading a normal life.


A two year old rhinoceros was presented to us with a history of blindness due to cataracts.



Working with such a large wild animal certainly causes some logistical problems. In this photograph the rhino is being hoisted into theatre at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty for the cataract surgery.


Here Professor Stegman (centre) of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty is placing a tube down the airway to administer oxygen and anaesthetic gases during the surgery.


Izak removed both lenses with phaco emulsification. The surgery was uneventful and vision was restored. The rhinoceros cow was released back into the wild.


Kenya : Cataracts in a Black Rhino at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Dr Antony Goodhead examining this young black rhino that had been found blind. On close examination using ultrasound one was able to confirm the presence of a cataract as well as the posterior segment of the eye had other pathology that would contraindicate any surgery being performed. This animal unfortunately will have to remain blind.





Pretoria - South Africa

A young white rhino was found separated from its mother during a grassland fire and once captured it was discovered that the young rhino was blinded with cataracts. The animal was darted and brought to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty near Pretoria and under general anaesthetic the cataracts were removed by phacoemulsification by Dr Antony Goodhead.

The rhino was then returned to an enclosure for two weeks observation before being darted again and examined. The eyes were found to have healed well and then the rhino, under sedation was walked out of the enclosure, into the wild and the antidote drug given and within a minute was free to roam the game reserve again. A truly satisfactory outcome.


The sedated rhino is lead blindfolded in to the theatre induction room


In the padded anaesthetic induction room the rhino is full anesthetised and ventilated before being brought into the theatre on an overhead hoist.


Theatre staff monitor, correct positioning and prepare the rhino for cataract surgery.


Using an operating microscope for magnification the cataract surgery is performed.


A week after surgery, the rhino is darted and examined before release in to the wild.



Aman – Borneo

Aman was rescued from a market as a baby. At the age of 19 he was living at the Matang wildlife centre in Sarawak, Borneo. He appeared to be blind and was examined by Izak Venter. Cataracts were diagnosed in both eyes.


Aman was anaesthetized by Prof Frik Stegmann for the surgical removal of the cloudy lenses.


The cataracts were removed using phacoemulsification by Dr Venter. Aman had a remarkable recovery and at present he is a visual orangutang.






This cheetah was presented with “cloudy” corneas. Izak Venter is examining this cheetah and an interesting condition [eosinophilic keratitis] unique to domestic cats were diagnosed in this animal.