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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
At 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.
The 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 .
Leaking of aqueous humor
Another 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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