Bionic eye turns Kansas man’s sight from darkness to light

Raymond Graber, after years of blindness, now sees with a bionic eye. (Courtesy KUSA)
Raymond Graber, after years of blindness, now sees with a bionic eye. (Courtesy KUSA)

PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. (KUSA/KSNW) – Some people never start trying new things. For one Kansas man, he can see again because of what’s being called a “bionic eye.” And, for the 88-year-old Pretty Prairie man, he now has a chance to do something he hasn’t done in decades: see the world around him.

“What I have is called retinitis pigmentosa,” said Raymond Graber. “Grateful because for the past 50 years, he’s only seen the world like this. First 25-30 years, I barely had enough vision to read headlines of a newspaper.”

When Holly Henning, the activity director at Prairie Sunset Home in Pretty Prairie, things began to change for Raymond. When she heard about what is known as a bionic eye, a retinal implant, she looked into it. The device works in concert with glasses that use a miniature camera.

After a half century of darkness, Raymond now has light in his life.

He still needs to adjust to his new eyes, but at 88 years old, he has a plan.

“My objective is to get good enough on this thing that I can get on our public bus and go to Wendy’s or McDonalds or somewhere and go home,” said Raymond.

Raymond will only be able to see in black and white, and now he has a new problem – tears of joy temporarily blurring his newfound vision.

Not only is Raymond the first person in Kansas to undergo the surgery, there have only been 45 such surgeries performed in the U.S.