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CBS Channel 11 Feature on Randy Trawnik See the D on CBS 11 feature on Randy Trawnik.

D Magazine Read about Randy Trawnik in the June 2004 edition of D Magazine!

D Magazine June 2004
The Eye Guy
Randy Trawnik brings new meaning to the phrase trompe l' oeil.
by Stacey Yervasi

Randy Trawnik sits in his Preston Center office, beaming like a proud father as he leafs through albums containing before-and-after photos of his patients, many of whom are children. But Trawnik is not a doctor; he’s an artist. He makes fake eyes—or, more properly, ocular prostheses. And if the images in the albums aren’t vivid enough, Trawnik can pop out his own left eye for closer inspection.

When he was 17, Trawnik was shot in the face with a blank during an ROTC training exercise. The injury required the removal of his eye, and it ended his military career. But it also introduced Trawnik to the little-known field of ocularistry. After receiving a degree in art, he began a five-year apprenticeship under John O’Donnell, the pioneering Dallas ocularist who had treated him.

Trawnik is now considered one of the best ocularists in the country. His creations, custom-made to match the patient’s remaining eye, have even fooled ophthalmologists. Each prosthetic piece begins as a plain acrylic orb cast from a wax model designed to fit perfectly in the patient’s eye socket. Layers of translucent paint give the iris a 3-D look. Trawnik uses red thread to produce the wispy blood vessels. “I consider myself the ultimate stealth artist,” he says, alluding to the realism of his prosthetics, allowing his patients to wear them in anonymity. The only easily discernable difference: the pupils can’t dilate.

Trawnik’s reputation attracts people from around the world, from Saudi Arabian princes to American beauty queens. “I am a big fish in a small pond,” he says. His skill and an empathy capable only of a wounded healer are their reward. As if to highlight the bond he shares with his patients, Trawnik introduces me to one, an older gentleman in for a follow-up appointment. The man proudly rolls and crosses his eyes, then asks if I can tell which is artificial. I assure him that I cannot. He and Trawnik exchange knowing winks, content to leave me in ignorance.

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** Member -- American Society of Ocularists **