We often say “what goes around, comes around” with a negative connotation, but Steve Huth, a Janesville Lions Club member, will tell you he knows it differently.
Steve’s story starts with a diagnosis of Fuchs’ Dystrophy, in 2004. Fuchs’ Dystrophy causes the clear layer (cornea) to swell. The disorder can lead to glare, cloudy vision and eye discomfort. Fuchs’ Dystrophy usually affects both eyes and can cause your vision to gradually worsen over years.
Struggling to blink without pain, and after trying a variety of treatments, Steve’s physician recommended a full corneal tissue transplant in his right eye in 2005. Eleven months later, he received a partial transplant in his left eye, followed by a partial corneal transplant in his left eye a year later. Once Steve was fully recovered, his vision was 20-20 in both eyes. “Recovery was intense, my vision would change monthly, and I even got new glasses four times in a year,” says Huth.
Steve’s story with the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin didn’t start with his corneal transplants. A Janesville Lions club member for over 30 years, Steve, an LEBW Transporter, had been transporting corneal tissue for years. Brought in by the ability to serve his community and make a difference in the lives of others, Steve has always found comfort in helping others as a Lion. “Many of our service projects revolve around making other people’s lives just a little more beautiful.”
Still a Transporter, and now a double-corneal transplant recipient, Steve has a deep appreciation for those who chose to give the gift of sight. “It can be the light of the moon or the brightness of the sunshine that guides our way; I am always thankful for the people who took the time to share their wishes with their families to donate eye tissue,” says Huth.
A nurse for more than 30 years, double corneal transplant recipient, Kathy Roberg, was diagnosed with Fuchs’ Dystrophy in 2003. Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a disease that usually affects both eyes and causes a gradual decline in vision due to corneal swelling and clouding. Overtime, Kathy’s vision worsened and she required her first corneal transplant in 2017. Kathy’s corneal transplants have allowed her to continue to participate and lead 15+ trips to Haiti, providing medical and dental care to local residents. She also works with women and children to develop business opportunities, educational assistance and teaching nursing at both the clinical and university level. “I am now able to be a wife, mother, sister, auntie and friend – and see and reflect the smiles and joy that come from others. I will do my best every day to wake up and thank the donors and their families for this precious gift.”
Corneal transplantation is one of the most frequently performed human transplant procedures and the most successful – a 95% + success rate. Lean more about eye donation, at lebw.org/donation. Save and heal lives by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at donatelifewisconsin.org or at a Wisconsin DMV service center.