Reid’s Doctors Optimistic About Prospects for Regaining Vision

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is alert and in good spirits after successful surgery to remove a blood clot from his right eye caused by an exercising accident, his office said.

“Doctors have said they are optimistic about his prospects for regaining vision in his right eye but there is no definitive verdict yet,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement Monday.

The three-and-a-half hour surgery at George Washington University Hospital “was successful in removing the blood clot in his right eye, additional blood from the front of his right eye and repairing the orbital bones in his right brow, temple and cheek,” Jentleson said.

Reid, who was under full anesthesia for the procedure, was alert afterward and staying informed on Senate business, including counting support before a procedural vote on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, according to the statement.

“Senator Reid was released from the hospital this afternoon and is currently sitting in his living room with Mrs. Reid, cracking jokes and asking about the whip count for this evening’s vote on the Keystone pipeline legislation,” Jentleson said.

In addition to broken facial bones near his right eye socket that had impaired his vision, Reid also suffered a concussion and broken ribs in the Jan. 1 accident while exercising.

Minority Leader

Reid became minority leader this month after Republicans won control of the Senate in the November election. Before that, he served as majority leader for eight years.

The Nevada Democrat told reporters last week that he plans to return to work full time Feb. 2 and that doctors are optimistic he’ll make a full recovery. He repeated plans to seek re-election in 2016.

“Senator Reid will recuperate from his residence this week and continue to monitor the Senate floor closely through meetings and phone calls with his fellow senators, the White House and staff,” Jentleson said Monday.

Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, has filled in for Reid on the Senate floor, while Reid has worked from his home or office.

Prior to today’s surgery, Reid, 75, could see only light with his right eye, said a Senate Democratic leadership aide who asked for anonymity to provide details that weren’t public.

Reid said last week that the vision in his left eye is 20/20 and that he had resumed a modified exercise routine that includes walking for as long as an hour.

This is one of several hospital visits for Reid in the past 10 years. He suffered a mild stroke in August 2005 while in his hometown of Searchlight, Nevada.

Also, Reid was taken to a hospital in October 2012 with minor injuries when his motorcade was involved in an accident in Las Vegas. In May 2011, Reid fell while running in Washington and dislocated his right shoulder.

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