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  Under certain circumstances such as attacks of other birds or accidents, injuries of the eye can occur. This chapter deals with injuries of the cornea which is the protective covering that's located on the outer surface of the eye. And it also deals with injuries of other parts of the eye itself, such as the anterior and posterior chamber. A chapter about injuries of the eyelids and the nictitating membrane will be published in the future.

Healthy cornea of a lineolated parakeetAt first I'd like to give a brief introduction. The bird's eye shows some basic structures that are very similar to the human's eye. A bird's eye has a spherical shape and the biggest part of the eyeball is invisible since it is located inside the skull. Only a small part of the eye is visible from the outside. If you have a close look to your bird, you can easily see that the eyes are curved. What you see is the cornea, the outer part of the eye. In a healthy bird the cornea is clear and smooth. And also you can see reflections of the surrounding, e. g. the light of a window, on the cornea. The photo on the right shows the healthy cornea of a lineolated parakeet.

Different budgie eyesThe anterior chamber is located right behind the cornea. This space is filled with a liquid called "aqueous humor". Right behind the anterior chamber the iris and the pupil are located. In most budgies, the iris is white. Young budgies and some older ones with special colour varieties have a dark iris. The pupil of most birds is black or red in case it's an albino or lutino. Some budgies show a pupil with a violet colour. Description of the figure on the right: Eye 1 is most typical for budgies: the pupil is black and the iris white. Eye 2 belongs to an adult budgie with a black iris and black pupil. The reddish colour of the iris and pupil is typical for lutino budgies (and albino birds as well). Eye 4 belongs to a fallow budgie, the pupil is slightly purple and not black.

Behind the pupil lies the small posterior chamber and it is followed by the lens. The posterior chamber is liquid-filled like the anterior one. And again, behind the lens another liquid-filled chamber is located. For more information on the anatomy of a human's eye see Wikipedia External Link.

Leaking of aqueous humor
Dried aqueous humor is sticking to the feathers of this budgieSince the largest part of the eye is liquid-filled, any kind of injury caused by a sharp object or a rupture caused by a collision can lead to a leaking of aqueous humor. Once this liquid flows, this can cause severe problems and a bird owner should contact an avian vet or an ophthalmologist for animals as soon as possible. A leaking of aqueous humor can be recognized easily: The eye seems to be teary and there are yellowish crusts around the eye sticking to the feathers. Also the bird keeps the eyelids closed. The photo on the right shows a budgie whose right eye has been injured and therefore a leaking of aqueous humor occurred. In case you notice the above mentioned symptoms, you should take your bird to a vet immediately. If you don't, the eye will dry out soon and your bird will lose the eyesight.

Corneal injuries
DDue to different reasons a bird's cornea can be injured. Quite often tiny objects slide under the eyelids and scratch the cornea's surface. Eye infections like a conjunctivitis often follow these injuries. If a vet doesn't recognize the corneal injury, most birds suffer from a more or less severe visual impairment for the rest of his (or her) life. Therefore it's always important to make sure that an eye infection is not caused by a corneal injury. Some special medical eye drops help to figure this out: Once they touch the cornea, they make the injuries become fluorescent.

In kitchens, birds can suffer corneal burnsAnother source of danger in typical households is the kitchen. In case a bird gets in touch with hot steam, a burning of the cornea can be the result. After the injury, most birds keep their eyelids closed and they swell. Also the cornea becomes greyish. If it's severely burned, it can even dissolve from the eye which is very alarming condition. Please make sure to take immediate action if your bird suffered a corneal burn. The faster you take your bird to a vet the more likely it is that your feathered friend will not lose his eyesight. Because it is better to be save then sorry, you should never let your birds fly into your kitchen while you are cooking. And please don't leave them unattended when there is hot steam anywhere.

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