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Emilio the Elephant Seal

Emilio's got his eyes on you!


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"Emilio" was at the Center for two months before he was released.


Emilio is a young elephant seal that was found on a beach with a damaged "third" eyelid. The eyelid was repaired at The Marine Mammal Center.
© The Marine Mammal Center





It's clear sailing for Emilio now that his third eye is healed.
© The Marine Mammal Center





Did you know some animals have three eyelids? It's true. Dogs do. Cats do. Humans don't. Elephant seals do.

The third eyelid, or more formally the nictitating membrane, is a thin blood-vessel-rich membrane that lays between the eye proper and the lower eyelid that we usually think of when we speak of eyelids. In addition to the rich supply of blood vessels, it has glandular tissue that helps protect the eye against infection. In dogs the glandular tissue is very organized and if it becomes inflamed and swollen it sometimes sticks out between the upper and lower eyelid. This condition is commonly called "cherry eye" because the inflamed gland, rich in blood vessels, resembles a ripe cherry. When "Emilio" brought to the Center, it was apparent the third eyelid in the left eye had been damaged. It was swollen, red, sticking out and pretty yucky looking. "Emilio" had a "cherry eye". Thankfully the eye itself and all the other associated structures were OK. With a little help, some TLC and healing time, "Emilio" did just fine and was released back to the ocean.


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