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Subject: Contact lenses for tigers

Written By: Philip Eno on 07/18/09 at 5:15 pm

A German company is making contact lenses for animals, including lions, giraffes, tigers and bears, with cataracts.

S & V Technologies, founded by Bavarian chemist Christine Kreiner, created the acrylic intraocular lenses which are custom made to fit each animal.

The firm's happy clients include a sea lion with blurred vision at Sea World in San Diego, a formerly blind kangaroo at an Australian nature park and a partially sighted lioness at a Romanian zoo.

"Cataracts generally means blindness for animals, unlike for humans," said the head of the company's veterinary division, Ingeborg Fromberg.

"And because animals have short lifespans, it means losing quality of life in a greater share of that life."

Special lenses that absorb UV rays can also be used to help horses afflicted with "head shaker syndrome", an excruciating and ultimately life-threatening ailment.

Although the expense of such an operation and subsequent check-ups can run into the thousands of pounds, the procedure is often worth it for animals that have gone blind and for their owners.

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