Self-limiting Orbital Emphysema Following Ocular Evisceration and Demonstration of Nasolacrimal-Oropharyngeal Communication in a South African Ostrich (Struthio camelus australis). Academic Article uri icon


  • A 25-year-old, male, sanctuary-owned, South African ostrich (Struthio camelus australis) was evaluated for orbital emphysema after evisceration of a nonvisual and chronically irritated eye. On initial ophthalmic examination, the ostrich's left eye displayed severe corneal fibrosis, broad anterior synechia, and a shallow anterior chamber, all suggestive of a previous corneal perforation. Conjunctival hyperemia and eyelid crusts were also present, reportedly associated with chronic rubbing. Evisceration of the left eye was performed by excising the eyelid margins, conjunctiva, nictitans, cornea, and intraocular contents. Four weeks postoperatively, a nonpainful, fluctuant swelling of the surgical site was noted. Trocarization of the surgical site verified orbital emphysema and served to temporarily decompress the orbit. Orbital emphysema reoccurred within 48 hours but gradually regressed without intervention over the subsequent 9 months. A Jones test was performed in the healthy, right eye and demonstrated clear communication to the oropharynx. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of an evisceration performed on an ostrich and the first reported case of orbital emphysema in any avian species. It is probable that the emphysema noted in this case was secondary to nasolacrimal duct-oropharynx communication.

published proceedings

  • J Avian Med Surg

author list (cited authors)

  • Rogers, C. M., Blue-McLendon, A., Scott, E. M., & Vallone, L. V.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Rogers, Callie M||Blue-McLendon, Alice||Scott, Erin M||Vallone, Lucien V

publication date

  • December 2020