Yellow Rockfish Fitted with Prosthetic Eye

Veterinarians at the Vancouver Aquarium gave the fish a fake eye to help reduce bullying from other fish.

A yellow rockfish (Sebastes flavidus) at the Vancouver Aquarium got a second chance at a better life after veterinarians removed its eye that had been damaged by cataracts caused by age. After they removed the eye, the doctors fitted the fish with a prosthetic eye that served two purposes: to keep the fish looking OK cosmetically and to discourage other fish from attacking it on its bad side.

The doctors said that other fish in the aquarium saw that the fish was missing its eye and attacked it on that side. Now that the fish is fitted with the fake eye, the attacks have subsided.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Martin Haulena, DVM, MSc, Dipl. ACZM, of the Vancouver Aquarium with Dr. Lesanna Lahner, DVM, MPH, CVA, of the Seattle Aquarium assisting. The duo had previous experience attaching a prosthetic eye to a copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus). The surgery involved attaching the new eye to the fish’s eye socket with nylon sutures and titanium clips.

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