By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) - U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who broke bones in his face when a piece of exercise equipment malfunctioned at his home in Nevada, says he may not regain full vision in his right eye.
The 75-year-old Democrat was hospitalized following the New Year's Day accident in Henderson, Nevada.
The senator, a former amateur boxer, has said he was using a heavy elastic band to exercise at home when the device detached from a wall and snapped, causing him to fall and suffer the injuries to his face as well as four broken ribs.
Reid, in an interview that aired on Friday with National Public Radio affiliate KNPR's "State of Nevada" program, said that the eye injuries he suffered were so severe that doctors do not yet know if he will regain full vision in his right eye.
"They're very hopeful but this isn't anything that's a slam dunk. I had serious injury to my eye," Reid said. "There's blood accumulated there, and they're hoping that resolves itself. As long as the blood is in the eye it's hard to see."
Reid missed the opening of the 114th Congress earlier this week due to his injuries and told KNPR that doctors asked him not to drive to an annual Democratic policy retreat in Baltimore.
The senator said he has been working from his home in Washington, relying on aides to read him documents so that he does not strain his eyes.
"I just hung up now talking to Senator (Dick) Durbin, talked to Senator (Chuck) Schumer already today several times and I think I’ve done a good job directing my crew without my actually being physically present in the Capitol," he told the program.
Reid said the accident had not impacted his plans to run for re-election in 2016.
Reid was elected to the Senate in 1986 and became majority leader in 2007, but surrendered that position this month to Senator Mitch McConnell in the new Congress as a result of November's elections in which Republicans took control of the Senate from Reid's Democrats.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Will Dunham)