Clearly KC Podcast

Welcome to Clearly KC, a podcast produced by the National Keratoconus Foundation, featuring information about life with this eye disease. Each month, Dr. Melissa Barnett OD, a leading authority shares valuable insights, speaks with medical professionals who treat this condition and listens to patients and families affected by keratoconus. Our goal is to share information to help you manage your keratoconus, seek out the best treatment options and live a full and productive life. Clearly KC is for patients, family members, and medical professionals interested in learning more about KC. This podcast is intended to provide general information about KC and should not be considered an alternative to medical consultation and treatment with your eyecare provider. Dr. Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS is an internationally recognized expert in keratoconus and other conditions that affect the cornea. She is Director of Optometry at University of California, Davis. National Keratoconus Foundation is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to raising awareness of the eye disease keratoconus. While we located at University of California Irvine, our reach is international. To learn more, visit

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Monday Jul 01, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD explodes some myths with crosslinking expert Dr. William Trattler MD, of the Center for Excellence in Eye Care in Miami.  He shares that patients with extremely thin corneas can be successfully crosslinked if the surgeon makes some adjustments in the treatment protocol.  While most crosslinked patients will not need a second procedure, he observed that a repeat treatment can be safely performed if progression is suspected.  Another myth debunked is that disease progression stops at age 40.  Dr. Trattler reported seeing progression in older patients, often after years of no change, reinforcing the need for annual follow-up exams even after crosslinking or years of stability.

Monday Apr 29, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD visits with Mark Morarie, inventor of The LensBase, a useful device that helps patients insert scleral lenses.  Mark remembers receiving the keratoconus diagnosis after his near perfect vision declined.  His vision improved with scleral lenses, but he struggled with applying his lenses.  Over several years, he tinkered with designs to produce an aid for contact lens wearers.   Now an FDA registered medical device, The LensBase is portable, clean, stylish, low tech and gentle on the eye.  Designed by a keratoconus patient and scleral lens user, anyone who dreads putting lenses in should listen to this episode and visit

Monday Apr 01, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD spends some time with Ash Arellanes, digital content creator and enthusiastic KC advocate.  Ash shares her journey of vision loss until she finally was diagnosed with keratoconus.  She remembers how she experienced relief to finally have an answer along with confusion and loneliness of having a condition she knew nothing about.  Ash had an existing online presence for her dog, Demi, and she started using her social media to share stories of life with keratoconus. Through her TikTok account, @demi_the_vlog_dog, Ash educates and entertains her 320,000 followers, including many in the keratoconus community. 

Monday Mar 11, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD welcomes colleague Dr. Jason Marsack PhD from the University of Houston, where his lab is engaged in correcting higher order aberrations.   Dr. Marsack shared his story of a keratoconus diagnosis while a college student and his vow to apply his engineering skills to improving the vision of others.  He and Dr. Barnett discuss isolation, empathy and the “KC Personality” which he observes may be the search for answers and frustration with the technology gap that many patients experience.  He is encouraged by advances in KC treatments and the dedication of scientists and practitioners to improving the detection and management of these individuals.   

Monday Mar 04, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD chats with Carl Domke of McKinney, Texas.  Carl is the winner of the 2023 World KC Day Photo Contest with a photo collage that celebrates improved vision with contact lenses.  The 80-year old photographer shared what it was like to be diagnosed with KC in 1959 and how, as a high school sophomore, he was given contact lenses that ‘changed his life’ and made it possible to continue his education.  Carl also shares the story of waiting for donor tissue and his 3-day stay at Wills Eye Hospital where he had a corneal transplant 20 years later.

Monday Feb 26, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD meets up with Myeisha Essex of Los Angeles to discuss tips, tricks and hacks to simplify life with keratoconus.   Myeisha shares her KC journey from diagnosis during graduate school to her career as an entertainment journalist.  Her eye doctor convinced Myeisha to refocus on her vision health, and she left long days under bright studio lights to start Essex Media Group and to work as a meditation and wellness coach.  Since she has transitioned to a mindfulness advocate, Myeisha has learned to slow down and pay attention to life’s lessons.  In their conversation, Dr. Barnett mentions the Scleral Lens Education Society ( as a resource for finding an expert in fitting scleral contact lenses.  Learn more about Myeisha’s activities at

Monday Feb 12, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD visits with Poppy McCabe, a recent graduate of Falmouth University in England.  Poppy was runner-up in the 2023 World KC Day Photo Contest.  Her submission shows her at her final art exhibit at school.  Investigating symptoms associated with her Ehlers Danlos syndrome, Poppy learned keratoconus was the source of her vision struggles.  She used her diagnosis as inspiration for an installation that invites viewers to experience the visual distortions that accompany keratoconus.  Through graphic design, Poppy found a way to channel her creativity to raise diseases awareness.  

Episode 20 - Down syndrome

Monday Jan 29, 2024

Monday Jan 29, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD asks Dr. Ann Ostrovsky MD about managing the care of individuals with Down syndrome who are diagnosed with keratoconus.  Dr. Ostrovsky who is chief of ophthalmology at ECU Health in Greenville, North Carolina stresses the importance of avoiding eye rubbing and scheduling regular eye exams to monitor for vision changes.  She notes that it can sometimes be difficult to get reliable test results and shares tips to make these patients more comfortable.  Dr. Ostrovsky notes the importance of working with parents or caregivers who are vested in optimizing their child’s eye health and partnering with them when considering procedures like crosslinking.

Monday Jan 22, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD welcomes Dylan Muyambo of Cape Town, South Africa.  For the 2023 World KC Day Photo Contest, Dylan submitted a joyful picture with his students on a field trip.  Dylan shares with Dr. Barnett how he struggled with his vision from a young age, was diagnosed with severe keratoconus at age 9, and underwent corneal transplants in both eyes by the time he was 20.  Dylan admits because of his poor vision, he relies on attentive listening and believes keratoconus motivated him to a career in education.

Episode 18 - Pubtometry

Monday Jan 08, 2024

Monday Jan 08, 2024

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD invites Dr. Araba Otoo OD to talk about pubtometry – a word Dr. Otoo uses to describe the intersection of optometry and public health.  Ghana-born Otoo is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry; she started Cherish Eyesight & Vision, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase vision health literacy and educate the public about eye conditions.  Partnering with NKCF, Otoo and her global team of animators created short entertaining videos about keratoconus as part of the Vision Tales project.
To watch Cherish Eyesight Vision Tales, visit or go to

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