Rep. Dan Crenshaw explains recovery after eye surgery

KPRC 2's Haley Hernandez speaks with Rep. Dan Crenshaw about his eye surgery and recovery.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw is back to work.

The representative who famously wears an eye patch from being hit by an IED while serving in Afghanistan had to have emergency surgery on his left eye.

Rep. Crenshaw said the trauma he endured may be why he recently experienced retina detachment in his left eye, a condition that requires emergency surgery.

“They put a big gas bubble in your eye and they say lay facedown for at least seven days, so that it basically acts as a Band-Aid on your retina,” Crenshaw explained. “I’m looking at it right now. It’s very frustrating and annoying, gets in the way of everything I do.”

Dr. Brigid Marshall, vitreoretinal surgeon with the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center, said people with a trauma to the eye or those who are nearsighted are at an increased risk of this happening, but sometimes aging alone is all it takes to experience retina detachment. The recovery is very difficult as it requires doing absolutely nothing.

“We ask for patients to be looking straight down towards the ground or lie on their stomach for a week after surgery and that is a very, very difficult thing for a patient have to go through,” Marshall said.

Marshall said the warning signs include:

  • Seeing floaters
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • Seeing “curtains” or a darkening in the peripheral line of sight

When Crenshaw recognized the symptoms, he went to the VA hospital for surgery.

“They’re going to lose their vision if they don’t proceed with surgery,” Marshall explained why the procedure could not be postponed.

It can take up to three months to determine how much vision, if any, will return.

“Never need to feel sorry for somebody like me,” Crenshaw said. “I raised my right hand and asked to go to war, and these are the consequences. To be honest, I wouldn’t change any of it for anything.”

Crenshaw said self-pity is easy, but it’s not the right choice.

“I’ve got Tara by my side, and we are here in Houston with plenty of support,” he said. “A few prayers that my vision will get back to normal and that I will make a full recovery wouldn’t hurt, though, and would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your thoughts, prayers, and support.”

In his book, “Fortitude,” there’s a chapter called “Perspectives from Darkness,” which he said is titled literally. Crenshaw said he never thought he’d have to relive that twice in one lifetime but said, “I have gotten through worse before, and I will get through this.”