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. Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO, FSLS is an internationally recognized expert in keratoconus and other conditions that affect the cornea. She is the chief optometrist at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. Read more about her at 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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6 days ago

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD and Dr. Muriel Schornack OD from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester debate if there is such a thing as a keratoconus personality.  Individuals with KC tend to score differently on personality tests, but Dr. Schornack points out that the disease impact often comes in youth or young adulthood where coping mechanisms are not fully developed.  KC can have a profound impact on an individual's ability to navigate life, yet the condition is invisible to observers.  They agreed doctors need to listen and if a patient expresses anxiety or depression, referral to a mental health provider would be appropriate.

Monday May 22, 2023

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD visits Dr. Marguerite McDonald MD, a legendary clinician scientist.  Dr. McDonald offered her take on impact of age on disease.  She finds that younger patients tend to have more aggressive disease and it is important to treat quickly in order to save vision.  A second group exists with a slow, mild version and many of these older patients only learn of their keratoconus when planning cataract surgery.  Dr. McDonald said these patients generally need no additional treatment as ‘Father Time’ has stabilized their corneas.  Drs. Barnett and McDonald also discuss advances in the crosslinking procedure, and the promise of genetic testing.

Episode 4 - Allergies

Tuesday Apr 18, 2023

Tuesday Apr 18, 2023

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD visits Dr. Hae Young Aaron Song MD, a board-certified allergist from Orange County, CA.  Dr. Song discusses two types of environmental allergies: seasonal, referring to pollen, grasses and weeds linked to the local landscape, and perennial, year-round allergens like animal dander and dust mites.  He talked about testing to identify specific allergies and noted that about 20% of the population suffers from ocular allergies.  For individuals affected by keratoconus, Dr. Song reported there are several inexpensive and effective over the counter remedies to control ocular and nasal symptoms that can trigger eye rubbing.

Episode 3 - Scleral Life

Sunday Apr 02, 2023

Sunday Apr 02, 2023

Clearly KC podcast host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD talks with Jeff, diagnosed with KC in 2007.  He recounts vision changes after college that drove him to an eye doctor where he learned his diagnosis.  He tells of trying different options and then giving up when there seemed to be no hope of vision improvement.  Jeff describes getting scleral lenses in 2013 as life changing.  Very satisfied with his vision now, he talks about the years lost when he was uninformed about keratoconus and unmotivated to continue looking for a solution.  His message, not to give up hope, is one that he shares with others through his social media presence as Jeff Scleral.   

Friday Mar 31, 2023

Clearly KC host Dr. Melissa Barnett OD chats with Dr. Barry Eiden OD of Chicago.  Dr. Eiden discusses prevalence of keratoconus, and the fact that rather than a rare, orphan disease, we are learning that KC is relatively common.  He talks about genetics and genetic testing.  Drs. Barnett and Eiden consider the need for technology that would permit primary eye care doctors to screen their patients for keratoconus and encouraging early intervention.  Dr. Eiden, founder of the International Keratoconus Academy, previewed the Keratoconus Conference for eyecare professionals scheduled for April 2023.

Episode 1 - Welcome

Monday Mar 27, 2023

Monday Mar 27, 2023

The host of Clearly KC, Dr. Melissa Barnett OD, and Mary Prudden, Director of National Keratoconus Foundation invite the audience to join them for a podcast focused on keratoconus, a disease of the cornea.  Dr. Barnett noted the prevalence of this condition is much higher than originally believed; because more people are diagnosed with keratoconus (or KC), more people have questions about their vision and eye health.  Clearly KC will address myths and misunderstanding about KC.  Dr. Barnett will address who gets keratoconus and what treatments are available and she'll be inviting other experts to join her, as well as patients who will share their KC journey. 

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