O'Brien recalled what he told her: "She wasn't ever going to see again. Or smell. And that she didn't have a nose. She didn't have eyes. That they were gone. But you are beautiful."
Steltz said she felt she had a choice.
"When I finally knew what had happened to me and that I had lost my sight and that it would never be coming back," said Steltz, "I knew I could sit back and have a pity party, or I could figure out what to do and go about doing it, and that's exactly what I did."
It would be a long road to recovery, as Steltz learned day by day how to live as a blind person. She learned to read Braille, to use a cane and she learned other life skills.
"Losing my sight did in some ways take certain independence from me," Steltz said. "However, I have tried learning new methods, like learning to cook. I couldn't cook when I could see, at all … and now I cook every day."
Intent on resuming her former life, Steltz went back to her old high school, attended the prom and even graduated with her class. "I started back as soon as I could my junior year," she said.
Not only that -- she graduated with straight "A"s. But how?
"You know, it's part of who I am," she said.
Steltz also attended classes for the blind, where she met Geoffrey Dilger.
"I wasn't sure if there was anyone out there for me," she said. "And in meeting Geoffrey, it makes you really look at everything you have to be grateful for."
By incredible coincidence, Dilger, now 27, also lost his sight when he was 16, in his case due to rare complications from an illness.
"Being blind eliminates a lot of ways to be superficial," Dilger told ABC News. "I think when you can't see somebody, you really have to listen to who this person is."
Steltz and Dilger have not let their disabilities slow them down. They have traveled extensively, even taking whitewater rafting trips.
"Every time I've done it, it is just thrilling," Steltz said.
Seven years into their relationship, they did what most people would find daunting -- if not impossible -- for a blind couple. They had a baby.
"I kind of look at little Geoffrey as like life, you know?" said Steltz. "You're either going to grab it by the boots and go or you're going to sit there and not know what to do. So I grabbed it by the boots and I was ready to go."
We asked her about the challenges involved.
"Challenging for me is don't burn dinner," she said, laughing. "You know, I kind of get up and view every day as though I were sighted. I just don't focus on my visual impairment."