Cornea recipient now transports tissue for others

Cornea recipient now transports tissue for others
Gift of Sight

There’s been a band in Larry Busch’s family for as far as anyone can remember.

“We can trace it back to Germany,” says Busch, 71, of Lancaster, Wis. “My dad was in my uncle’s band for 52 years, and my brothers and I started a band 57 years ago. Music has always been there.”

Busch says he primarily plays big band, jazz, and Dixieland music. But health challenges, including Fuchs Dystrophy, has prevented him from playing trumpet, piano and organ for much of the past year.

“I didn’t realize how bad my eyes were getting,” Busch says. “I knew I had a problem because I needed a lot of light to see anything.”

Busch says he found out he had Fuchs Dystrophy after his optometrist in Prairie Chien, Wis., diagnosed him years ago, and said he would eventually need treatment.

Busch had his first corneal transplant in February at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and returned in March to have a corneal transplant on his other eye. Dr. Mark Greiner, MD, medical director of Iowa Lions Eye Bank, performed both surgeries.

“I noticed after I had the transplants that I could see colors so vividly that I haven’t seen in years,” Busch says. “The first couple of weeks, everything was so bright because my eyes were letting in more light.”

Now, Busch, who is retired from working as a plumber, electrician, and carpenter, is back to performing.

He also is a member of his local Lions Club, and recently signed up to transport corneas from Dubuque to Dodgeville, Wis.

“As a Lion we always help with different projects, but transporting corneas has a special meaning for me now, that’s for sure,” Busch says.