When the doctors are operating on Virgil's eyes, you see his right eye closed as if he were sleeping normally. If they hadn't already operated on it, it would have been taped shut. If they had operated on it, it would have been covered with gauze which would be taped on his face.
The film is based on a true story. The man who is played by Val Kilmer was a married man, in his early fifties, when he regained his sight, and he is gradually losing it again.