Reid to undergo eye surgery

WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid will undergo needed surgery Monday on his right eye that was seriously injured in a New Year’s Day accident, his office said Wednesday.

The surgery is scheduled at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said. She said the Nevadan was told by doctors on Tuesday the procedure was “a necessary step to assist in recovering full vision” in the eye.

Reid returned to the Senate on Tuesday for the first time since the accident, and will be back on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Orthman said. Following the surgery, which Reid will have performed as an outpatient, he will remain at home for the rest of next week, she said.

The prognosis comes a day after Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, made a splash with his return.

Reid met with aides in his office, conferred with others on the Senate floor, and was greeted by a standing ovation from fellow senators at a luncheon. All told he spent about three hours at the Capitol before departing for the medical appointment where he was advised to have surgery.

On Wednesday, Reid remained at his Washington home, where aides and other senators say he has monitored the Senate and weighed in on its activities by telephone.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democratic leader, filled in on Reid’s floor duties as he has since Congress convened on Jan. 6.

Appearing in the Senate hallways, Reid, 75, wore a large bandage over his right eye and his face was bruised. No other injury was visible. He broke four ribs, suffered a concussion and broke bones near the eye on New Year’s Day when an exercise resistance band snapped into his face and knocked him into cabinetry at his home in Henderson.

Orthman said Reid’s broken ribs “are healing well.”

Speaking Jan., 9 on KNPR, Nevada Public Radio, Reid said his eye injury was serious and fully regaining his vision was not assured. He has given no timeline for recovery.

Reid’s office provided no further information on the surgery he will undergo Monday. He has scheduled a press conference in his office Thursday when reporters are expected to ask questions about his condition.

In the meantime, Reid said on KNPR that doctors warned him not to exert his eyes.

“I’m not to be reading a bunch of emails and stuff like that because you have one bad eye and one good eye, and you overwork that good eye, it puts too much pressure on the bad eye,” Reid said at the time. “So they basically told me to be very careful in how I strain my eye.”

On Tuesday, asked how his eye was feeling, Reid said it was “doing better.” Asked if he would get his vision back, Reid said, “I hope so.”

Reid did not attend the State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. He reportedly listened to it on the radio.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC.


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