Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

In pics: Blair Drummond sea lion Bella on the mend after eye operation

Bella the California Sea Lion, fully recovered, giving keeper Alex Wainwright a kiss after having her right lens removed in her eye during an operation (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
Bella the California Sea Lion, fully recovered, giving keeper Alex Wainwright a kiss after having her right lens removed in her eye during an operation (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

A sea lion is recovering after undergoing a major eye operation.

Bella, 22, a California sea lion at Blair Drummond Safari Park by Stirling, needed treatment after developing keratitis in both eyes.

Keratitis is an ocular disease found in more than 60% of sea lions over 14 years old and 100% of sea lions over 26, the park said.

Europe's top veterinarian specialists Ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley and International Zoo Vet Group Andrew Greenwood assisted Blair Drummond Safari park vets Colin Scott and Paddy Day in the operation. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
Europe’s top veterinarian specialists Ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley and International Zoo Vet Group Andrew Greenwood assisted Blair Drummond Safari park vets Colin Scott and Paddy Day in the operation. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

The park brought in top veterinarian specialists ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley and Andrew Greenwood, of International Zoo Vet Group, to treat her.

Bella first underwent surgery in June 2016 due to lens luxation, a dislocation of the lens, in her left eye induced by the disease.

The surgery was successful, with Bella making a speedy recovery.

Ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley (front left) and International Zoo Vet Group's Andrew Greenwood (rear right) being assisted by Blair Drummond Safari park vets Colin Scott (centre) and Paddy Day (far left), as keeper Nikki Morrison (right) looks on, during an operation to remove the lens in Bella the California Sea Lion's right eye. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
Ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley (front left) and International Zoo Vet Group’s Andrew Greenwood (rear right) being assisted by Blair Drummond Safari park vets Colin Scott (centre) and Paddy Day (far left), as keeper Nikki Morrison (right) looks on, during an operation to remove the lens in Bella the California Sea Lion’s right eye. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

However, the right eye lens soon followed the same deterioration and she needed a second operation which took place on February 27.

The sea lion stage, which usually hosts educational presentations, was transformed into a veterinary theatre for the operation.

Nikki Morrison, head of the sea lion department, said: “The stage was the best place to carry out the surgery; it gave us the most room and lighting for all concerned.

“We were able to anaesthetise Bella in the penning room, then safely carry her to the operating table using a stretcher.

(Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
(Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

“I have great confidence in Claudia and Andrew; they are the leading experts in the field.

“Both surgeries have been a great success and Blair Drummond’s team of sea lion and veterinary specialists were all on-hand to assist.

“Claudia and Andrew were very clear about explaining each step of the process, enabling us to follow the operation. We remain in contact and keep everyone updated on Bella’s recovery.

“Bella has blown us all away with how resilient she is.

The operation has been a success for Bella and although her vision is limited, it appears she can actually still see and manoeuvre her surroundings reasonably comfortably. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
The operation has been a success for Bella and although her vision is limited, it appears she can actually still see and manoeuvre her surroundings reasonably comfortably. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

“Within two weeks of major surgery, she’s eating and interacting well with the rest of the sea lion group and although her vision is limited, it appears she can actually still see and manoeuvre her surroundings reasonably comfortably.”

Park bosses said that at the age of 22, Bella is starting to slow down and begin her transition into retirement.

They hope to make this as comfortable and fulfilled a process as possible, and ensure that she continues to receive the best management and medical care.