Blindness in fish

Many people have asked me how fish cope whenever I perform surgery to remove a diseased eye in fish (watch video – ).

Other reasons for blindness in occurs when fish develop cataracts which can reduce visual acuity in fish and may eventually lead to blindness.

In our latest video, we show you a goldfish with an overgrown wen ( link – ). Practically blind because the of the excess growth of the hood, but would have been able to detect changes in lighting.

Fish are able to adapt to blindness as most fish have a sixth sense, their lateral line system. Their lateral line system allows fish to detect minuscule electrical currents and vibrations that may be created by prey items and food and their mates. However, they ought to be housed with slow feeders and be given ample opportunity to feel for their food.

Schooling fish use their lateral line system to swim in synchronicity, changing directions instantaneously.

Many fish can live long happy lives even if blind. In fact there are a species of fish that are naturally blind, called blind cave fish where they only have vestigial eyes. And spare a thought for those fish that live in the deep dark abyss.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics& Pathobiology), CertAqV, Fellow WAVMA.

Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist.

Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Locations: Perth | Sydney | Melbourne | Canberra – with affiliates in Singapore | London (UK)
Ph: +61 421 822 383
Mail: PO Box 5164, East Victoria Park, WA 6981, Australia.


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