Finding a doctor is easy. Finding exactly the right doctor for your rare and complex condition is much more difficult. That is why so many Keratoconus Patients from all over the world travel to the California Keratoconus Center for their non-surgical Keratoconus treatment. They know they’ve found the best Keratoconus specialist for their condition.

Why Travel to the California Keratoconus Center

If you have Keratoconus, you probably already know that Kerataconus is a rare condition that changes the shape of your cornea, causing light to refract differently depending on its brightness and what angle it enters the eye. The bumpy cornea also makes it impossible to correct with traditional hard or soft contact lenses. Keratoconus patients travel to the California Keratoconus Center to be treated by the cKlear Method™, which effectively treats your Keratoconus with specialized contact lenses, usually Scleral Lenses.

Family who traveled from Uganda for treatment at the California Keratoconus Center
This patient traveled with his parents from Uganda to be treated at the California Keratoconus Center

How Long Will My Visit To the CKC Take?

Treating Keratoconus takes time. At the California Keratoconus Center, we invented the cKlear Method™ for treating Keratoconus, and there are generally at least three (and usually four) office visits at the start of your treatment.

But before all of that, we’ll schedule a brief Zoom call with you to discuss your case and help you with your scheduling. If you’ve sent us any of your case history beforehand, we’ll discuss that a bit. And we’ll answer any questions you may have about your treatment and your trip to the California Keratoconus Center.

During your first visit, we will go through the first four steps of the cKlear Method:

  • cKlear Comprehensive Eye Exam
  • cKlear Diagnostic Eye Exam
  • cKlear Preliminary Treatment Plan
  • cKlear Design Exam
Keratoconus Patient examination with Eaglet Eye Surface Profiler
Keratoconus Patient with Dr. Barry Leonard and the Eaglet Eye Surface Profiler

After your first visit, your Scleral Contact Lenses have been specifically designed for your eyes, and then sent to a lab to be manufactured. We work with 6 different contact lens labs, each with its own specialties, and choose the lab carefully based on your specific conditions.

By the time of your second visit, the cKlear Dispensing Visit, we will have received your new Scleral Contact Lenses. We will put the lenses on during this visit (prepare yourself for an “AMAZING!” moment) and evaluate how they fit on your eye, down to the micron. We we will also teach you how to insert, remove and care for your new lenses.

Your third visit, your cKlear Progress Checkup, can be scheduled anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks after your dispensing visit. A longer interval is usually better, but we tend to schedule out-of-town patients sooner so they can get back home as soon as possible.

Follow up visits happen months later.

Some out of town patients choose to plan a trip to Los Angeles so that all three visits can be done during a single trip, which can be done in a little over two weeks, but is preferably done over a longer time period. Other out of town patients, especially those who live in California, Nevada and Arizona, often will fly in for a half day for each visit.

Recent Travelers to the California Keratoconus Center

Whatever your preference, we will do our best to accommodate your schedule, no matter where you are from or how far you travel. Among the places our patients have traveled from are:

  • From The Bay Area: We saw two patients from the Bay area, and while at our office, discovered that they were on the same Southwest Airlines commuter flight from San Jose. Both flew into Burbank Airport that morning, one with plans to return home that afternoon and return the following week for a follow up visit. The other patient stayed a couple of weeks so she could wait for her custom Scleral Lenses to be created for her. She took in all the sights of Los Angeles between her visits.
  • East Coast, USA: A young college bound student planning on going to Yale, but who had chosen a career that didn’t require a lot of reading because of his Keratoconus. Once he could see clearly with his new Scleral Lenses, his father (who had traveled with him) said “Wow, now you can go to Harvard Law!”
  • Idaho: A retired scientist and researcher was originally diagnosed locally with Keratoconus. He studied and researched the disease thoroughly, and even knew he had High Order Aberrations. Based on that, he knew that the Ovitz Ares Aberrometer was the best instrument to help get him the best vision, and that the CKC has one of only 37 of these instruments that exist in the world. He flew back and forth for each of his cKlear visits. “Wow!” was his reaction, once he could see clearly.
  • Uganda: Much more than a commuter flight was this family’s trip from Uganda. The son had Keratoconus and the Mom and Dad traveled with him from Africa. The California Keratoconus Center even helped them all get a visa. After he could see clearly, the son was THRILLED, saying that his new vision was “Life Changing!”
  • United Arab Emirates: Overseas visits begin with a Zoom consultation to make sure that patients know what to expect and how long it takes. This patient has had his Zoom and is also receiving help from the CKC with her visa application.

Patients have come from Germany, Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, Pakistan and elsewhere to visit the California Keratoconus Center. When they do, they take advantage of the following travel advice.

Local Travel Advice

If you are flying in from a relatively local destination, you can’t beat Hollywood Burbank Airport for convenience and proximity to the CKC, especially if you are flying Southwest Airlines.

Burbank is by far the closest and most convenient airport to the CKC at a distance of under 9 miles (click for a map and directions). The ride will take you under 15 minutes in a rental car or Uber, or a bit more in traffic.

Southwest Airlines dominates the airport, having handled over 75% of the airport’s nearly 6 million passengers in 2020. The airport is also served by these airlines:

Burbank airport main entrance
The Bob Hope Hollywood Burbank Airport is the closest airport to the California Keratoconus Center

International and Long Distance Travel Advice

If you are flying from out of the country or from across the USA, then you will likely end up flying into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Every major airline flies into LAX.

The CKC is under 24 miles from LAX, but don’t let that fool you: Los Angeles traffic is well known for its fickle nature. As a result, depending on the time of day you are traveling, it could take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to drive in either direction (click for a map and directions).

Since an Uber ride can be very expensive in heavy traffic, one common method of travel from LAX into the San Fernando Valley is the FlyAway bus service. For under $10, you can hop a FlyAway bus outside your terminal (which cycles every 20 minutes during daylight hours: see schedule here) and end up less than 4 miles away from the CKC at the FlyAway Terminal in Van Nuys. A quick Uber gets you to the CKC from the Van Nuys FlyAway just a few minutes later (click for map and directions).

LAX sign at airport entrance
All airlines fly into Los Angeles International Airport, about 24 miles from the California Keratoconus Center

Hotels Near the California Keratoconus Center

While there are large and small hotels all around the San Fernando Valley, these are our favorite, noteworthy or most convenient hotels:

  • Courtyard by Marriott, Sherman Oaks – This recently remodeled hotel is a local favorite. Since it’s right at the intersection of the 405 and 101 Freeways, you can get just about anywhere in Los Angeles from here.
  • The Garland Hotel, North Hollywood – Just minutes from Universal City and only 9 miles from the CKC, the Garland Hotel is a beautiful place to stay near the revitalized NoHo district, and in the heart of the San Fernando Valley’s TV Production area.
  • Sheraton Universal Hotel – If you want to take in the local sights near the CKC, then you must visit Universal Studios and City Walk, both extremely popular attractions. The Sheraton Universal hotel is a 5 minute walk from it all, and a 12 mile drive to the CKC.
  • Hilton Universal City – You will also find this hotel on the hill at Universal Studios. It’s a beautiful, newer hotel than the Sheraton, but both afford spectacular views over the entire San Fernando Valley.
  • Marriott Hotel at Burbank Airport – If you are flying in and out of Burbank airport and need a place to stay for the night, you can’t beat the Marriott Burbank airport for efficiency. It’s right at the entrance to the airport, and just 9 miles to the CKC.

Local Attractions

There is so much to see when visiting the CKC. We are located in Panorama

City, which is in the San Fernando Valley, a very large part of Los Angeles. So all of Los Angeles is within driving distance to you. Among the attractions you might want to visit are:

Universal Studios Globe with Hilton in background
Entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood with the Universal Hilton in the background

Preparing For Your Trip to the California Keratoconus Center

Before you head out to the California Keratoconus Center, Gianny Cardenas, our Keratoconus Coordinator, will schedule a Zoom call with you and Dr. Leonard. During that call, they will review your case, answer any questions you might have, and help you plan your visit, including questions about travel. If you haven’t yet scheduled your Keratoconus appointment, do it today! Call the California Keratoconus Center at 818-891-6711 or make an appointment online here.