LONDON - Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain disclosed Saturday that an eye examination showed two tears in his right retina - a revelation that could embolden critics who want him to step down before a national election.
Downing Street moved quickly to quash speculation over Brown's health, issuing the statement only one day after a regular examination at a London eye hospital. Brown's office said that his eyesight remained unchanged and that no operations were planned to address the situation.
Brown, who lost the sight in his left eye in a sporting accident as a teenager and had surgery to save the sight in the other one, has been dogged by questions about his eyesight in recent months.
In September, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams questioned Brown over reports that he was using larger and larger text sizes as his remaining vision declined.
"I had all sorts of operations," Brown said. "I then had one operation on the other eye and that was very successful, so my sight is not at all deteriorating."
Later, he told the BBC that "it would be a terrible, terrible indictment of our political system if you thought that because someone had this medical issue they couldn't do their job."
Som Prasad, a consultant ophthalmologist at Arrowe Park Hospital in northwest England, said retinal tears affect 3 percent of people over 40 in Britain, and only occasionally cause serious problems.