Image: Tom DeLay
Manuel Balce Ceneta  /  AP
House Rep. Leader TomDeLay, at left, is seen prior to undergoing surgery on his eyelids and, at right, he's seen after the procedure in August.
updated 10/6/2004 3:56:12 PM ET 2004-10-06T19:56:12

Democrats may argue that House Republican Leader Tom DeLay's vision is obscured but the combative Texan says he is seeing things more clearly these days.

DeLay took care of a vision problem with a procedure in August to tighten up droopy eyelids, victims of gravity and his 57 years.

"I had heavy eyelids that were blocking my vision," he said Wednesday.

Droopy eyelids, officially known as ptosis, is a common condition among older people, said Tracy Grinder, a Washington, D.C., ophthalmic technician. They also can be caused by trauma, surgeries, strokes and other health problems.

She said reducing the droop can be an hour procedure or two hours if lower lids are involved.

"You look pretty rough the first week after," she said. "Eyelids are very tender."

Doctors didn't remove all of DeLay's signs of age. As he squinted into the sun during an outdoor news conference, the corners of his eyes wrinkled with crow's feet.

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