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Parrots/African Grey Eye Ring


QUESTION: Hello Dr. Abbott,

We recently noticed that our male African Grey has a grey ring on the iris of one of his eyes.  I forms almost a perfect ring just inside the pupil.  Can you tell me what might cause this?


ANSWER: --  Jeanne, this COULD be a cataract.  If you never listen to anything else ever in this world, PLEASE get the bird seen by a good vet who sees MOSTLY birds in their practice.

 Right now I'm dealing with a macaw that is completely blind in both eyes; he will never see daylight or a kind face again - all because his horrible humans refused to take him to a vet when his cataracts first began.   They could have saved his sight.  Now, only 15 yrs old, he's doomed to a lifetime of some 60 more years, blind.   There is nothing more heartbreaking or gut wrenching than a blind bird.

 Now that I've scared you - let me add that this could just be a vitamin deficiency; it might be an infection of some kind -- either way, chances are extremely high that it can be resolved if you get medical care right from the beginning


 Where are you located in CA ?   I may be able to help guide you to someone

(you should use your option to make this question 'private' once you give your location)

Also, tell me what you feed your Grey


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Crystal\'s eye
Crystal's eye  
QUESTION: Crystal is fed a mixture of Zupreem rainbow (not on recall list) mixed equally with a seed mixture for a total of 1/8 cup per day.  In addition, he gets two feeding of fresh food daily (mixture of soak n cook, sprouts, veggies, fruits).  Only supplement is a calcium powder.

He is about 11 years old, and is in a room with full spectrum lighting (during the winter more so than the summer).  Two years ago we moved him over to a window (it faces north--no direct sunlight)--he enjoys looking out of it.

I am in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles.  We have a vet locally who treats all the birds (not Avian certified), so I would take Crystal to Dr. Molnar in Calabasas.

I attached a picture of his eye.


--  Thank you Jeanne!  Remember, I am not making any diagnosis and no one should ever diagnose anything over the net; however, I can give you 'general info' and the suggestion as to what to do


A growth that appears in or on the eyeball rather than on the area around it, a ptergyium is a fan-shaped patch of mucosal membrane that can be so thick that it covers the cornea and causes blindness.


There are two types:  Stationary and progressive.    The stationary type appears pale colored and flat;  it may be left alone, depending on the location and opinion of a professional evaluator, preferably an avian ophthalmologist

Progressive pterygium are more fleshy and can become inflamed or ulcerated.  They require removal which is done surgically, with cauterization or curettement  or other modalities as decided by the doctor.


Causations are any number of things, including exposure to too much UV or the wrong strengths of UV light, which is probably the most common cause in humans.  It might the result of a toxicity such as zinc or other heavy metal; also, liver disease might be behind it.   In any case this is very vital to have evaluated, properly diagnosed, treated and the underlying condition found and fixed as well.


With this said, yes, please take your companion to the vet, hopefully this week.


And please check back with me and let me know what's happening ok?  You are clearly a good 'mom' and love your beautiful, smart as a whip feathered 'child'.  I want everything to be ok and at this point I believe it will be.  You caught it early due to your attentiveness and quick action  


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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