Mooney struggles with eye trouble

February 27, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Sen. Alex X. Mooney returned to Annapolis this week after spending the last two weeks at home recovering from complications of laser eye surgery.

Wearing dark wraparound sunglasses to keep the sunlight from aggravating his condition, Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, is slowly resuming his duties.

Even after weeks of tests, doctors still don't know what is causing his problems or whether the damage to his eyes is permanent, he said.

His condition began early in the session, about five weeks after he had laser eye surgery to correct nearsightedness.

His eyes became dry, and were red and puffy with irritation. He went to the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, where doctors told him that each time he blinked his eyelid was scratching his cornea.

With his vision blurry and a sensitivity to light, Mooney stayed home for two weeks.

"I decided just to play it safe," he said.


Mooney said he is worried because his doctor, who could not be reached for comment, has not ruled out permanent damage. His eyes were expected to be improving by now.

But Mooney does not regret having the laser procedure that may have brought on his eye troubles. He remains hopeful that his vision will be back to the 20/20 he had in the weeks following the surgery.

On Tuesday, he planned to keep a light schedule by attending the morning Senate session and going home in the afternoon.

But when he saw that the media was taking an interest in one of his bills, he decided to stay and testify at an afternoon bill hearing.

The bill would ban red-light cameras in Maryland except in school zones or at railroad crossings.

The cameras take snapshots of cars as they run red lights. The drivers are ticketed by mail.

Mooney told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that the cameras are too much like Big Brother watching.

"I actually find it quite offensive," he said.

Mooney is not the only local lawmaker who has dealt with health woes this session.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, missed several days early in the session to recover from a Dec. 27 car accident. He is still involved in physical therapy for an injured knee.

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