Saturday, February 27, 2010

Meet Bill Huber, Cornea Transplant Recipient

On the night we visited the Hatboro Lions Club to talk about our upcoming golf outing fundraiser, we were thrilled to listen to Hatboro’s guest speaker for the evening, Bill Huber. Bill has the unique distinction of being a double cornea transplant recipient. He is extremely proud of the work that Lions have done, and is especially enthused about the work done by the Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley.

When Bill was in his teens, he needed both of his corneas replaced. He was declared legally blind as he was just entering adulthood. His transplants were both done at the Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley.

In 1980, there was a five-year waiting list for corneas. Today, there is no waiting list. In 1980, having a cornea replaced meant a three day recovery in the hospital, at the very least. Today the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, although the doctor usually likes to see a patient stay overnight just in case of complications.
In 1980, when a donor cornea was available, there was just a tiny six-hour window of opportunity before the cornea was unusable. Today corneas can be kept valid for up to 14 days in the USA, and even longer elsewhere due to more relaxed requirements.
Bill tells us this is because of the advances in medicine that have been done thanks to Lions. A new kind of solution or “syrup” that keeps corneas “fresh” longer has made all the difference.

In addition, the Lions Eye Bank now employs the use of five “harvesting” vehicles, which are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to go retrieve corneas from donors when one becomes available.

Bill says he often gets discouraged when he sees people abuse their eyes, from excessive rubbing, and applying makeup. He encourages all of us to cherish our eyesight. As one who knows what blindness is like, and how life can be so vastly different when one’s eyesight is restored, Bill’s advice is wise.

He also encourages us to support the Eye Bank, and come tour it some day. The Eye Bank also trains and certifies doctors for cornea transplant surgery. The Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley is part of a network of eye banks nationwide, where the premiere doctors work miracles daily.

Bill tells us all to have no fear to go to the eye doctor, have no fear to go for an eye exam. It could make all the difference in the world to you. Did you know that corneas themselves have no blood vessels, meaning that there is no blood matching necessary between donor and recipient? That’s why the success rate of corneal transplants is over 98%.

The Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley is located at 401 N Third Street in Philadelphia. They can be reached at 215-561-3081 or



At 2:05 PM , Blogger Lions Clubs International said...

Thought you might enjoy our new blog post, Eye Donor Awareness Month: Lions Give Lisa the Gift of Sight:


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