IMAGE: GOVERNOR PATERSON
Hans Pennink  /  AP
New York Gov. David Paterson
updated 5/20/2008 2:01:12 PM ET 2008-05-20T18:01:12

Gov. David Paterson has been diagnosed with acute glaucoma in his left eye, aides said Tuesday after he was taken to a hospital in Manhattan with migraine-like symptoms.

"The governor is now undergoing an iridotomy, a routine, outpatient laser procedure to relieve pressure on that eye," the governor's office said in a statement. "The operation will not have any long-term impact on the governor's overall health."

The governor, who turned 54 on Tuesday, asked to be brought to The Mount Sinai Medical Center for an evaluation early in the morning, according to the statement.

Paterson's health has been a concern in recent years, and he has been hospitalized at least twice before.

Last July, when he was lieutenant governor, Paterson fainted on an airplane on his way to Buffalo. He was briefly hospitalized and the following day had an angiogram at Mount Sinai, which was normal. Doctors said they found no evidence of heart disease.

In April 2006, when he was state Senate minority leader, Paterson was admitted to a hospital with chest pain and underwent tests, including a CT scan, cardiovascular stress test and echocardiogram. The tests came back normal and he was released after about 12 hours.

Legally blind
At the time, a Paterson spokesman said he had no history of heart trouble. A recreational basketball player who is legally blind, Paterson has run the New York City Marathon.

Paterson, who resides in the governor's mansion several days a week with his wife, Michelle, also has homes in Harlem and the Albany suburb of Guilderland. His Harlem apartment is not far from Mount Sinai, on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

He was in the city to speak at commencement ceremonies at Columbia University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1977. He was to receive a medal of excellence but his office canceled the event.

Under the state constitution, New York was left without a lieutenant governor when Paterson, a Democrat, succeeded Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in March amid a prostitution scandal.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, is next in the line of succession.

Voters won't pick a new lieutenant governor until the next gubernatorial election in 2010.

Paterson lost sight in his left eye and much of the sight in his right eye after an infection as an infant. He can see shapes and usually recognizes people as they approach.

He can read for just a few minutes at a time, with the text held close to his face; usually his aides read to him. At a bill signing last week, Paterson put his nose to the bill to find the right lines on which to sign.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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