Two Iowa Football Fans are Grateful for Restored Vision

Recipients Cal VanLoh (right) and Ian Lutz (left) with son
Two Iowa Football Fans are Grateful for Restored Vision
Gift of Sight

A mutual love of the University of Iowa Hawkeye football team isn't the only thing that Ian Lutz and Calvin "Cal" VanLoh have in common. They are also connected through the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, which provided the corneas for the recent transplant each received to help restore their sight.

Ian Lutz received his first corneal transplant at the young age of 23. Ian began losing his eyesight to Keratoconus (KCN) when he was just 10 years old. KCN is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. Ian was placed in rigid gas permeable contact lenses at age 13 and underwent a crosslinking procedure at age 15 to slow the progression of this hereditary eye disease. Crosslinking strengthens and stabilizes the cornea by creating new links between collagen fibers within the cornea. Ian ultimately needed a corneal transplant in his right eye, which was performed by Dr. Mark Greiner at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on May 15, 2019. The transplant in his left eye is scheduled for June of 2020.

Following a traumatic injury to his left eye more than 40 years ago, Cal VanLoh developed a cataract and underwent ocular surgery in 1998 to replace the lens in that eye. The surgery was successful, but in 2011, Cal's vision began to deteriorate, and he developed pain in the eye. Cal was suffering from post-cataract surgery edema and had a corneal transplant at the age of 91, performed by Dr. Alex Cohen at the Iowa City Ambulatory Surgical Center.

Despite the almost 70-year difference in their ages, both Ian and Cal have had great success with their transplants and both are very grateful for the donors that made their restored vision possible. In gratitude for the gift of sight received, they both sent heartfelt letters to their donor families. In his letter, Ian spoke about his now 13-month-old son and his love of sports; Ian is a third generation Iowa Hawkeye football fan. Cal's letter to his donor family mentioned that, due to his age and other health issues, his entertainment options are limited, but that he loves reading and watching Iowa football on television. Without the generous gifts of their donors, Ian would not be able to see his son grow up, Cal would not be able to read, and neither of them would be able to enjoy watching their beloved Hawkeye football team.

Iowa Lions Eye Bank is proud to be part of both of these wonderful stories and wish both Ian and Cal continued success with their restored vision and an undefeated Hawkeye football season!