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 specialists for their condition.

Why Travel to the California Keratoconus Center?

If you have Keratoconus, you probably already know that the disease 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 correcting with traditional hard or soft contact lenses impossible. 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 California Keratoconus Center 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 that, we’ll schedule a brief Zoom call to discuss your case and set up your first appointment. If you’ve sent us any of your case history beforehand, we’ll discuss that a bit. And we’ll answer any questions 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 six of the best contact lens labs, each with its 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. During this visit, we will put the lenses on (prepare yourself for an “AMAZING!” moment) and evaluate how they fit on your eye, down to the micron. 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 faster so they can return home as soon as possible.

Follow-up visits happen months later.

Some out-of-town patients plan a trip to Los Angeles so that all three visits can be completed during a single trip, which can be done in a little over two weeks. However, whenever possible, we prefer and recommend a longer period. Other out-of-town patients, especially those living in California, Nevada, and Arizona, often 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 discovered that they were on the same Southwest Airlines commuter flight from San Jose while at our office. 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 was planning on going to Yale and 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 initially diagnosed locally with Keratoconus. He thoroughly studied and researched the disease 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 California Keratoconus Center has one of only 37 of these instruments worldwide. He flew back and forth for each of his cKlear visits. “Wow!” was his reaction once he could see clearly.
  • Uganda: This family’s trip from Uganda was much more than a commuter flight. 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 ensure patients know what to expect and how long it takes. This patient has had his Zoom and receives help from the California Keratoconus Center 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 its convenience and proximity to the California Keratoconus Center, especially if you are flying Southwest Airlines.

Burbank is the closest and most convenient airport to the California Keratoconus Center 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, handling 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 across the USA, you will likely end up flying into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Every major airline flies into LAX.

The California Keratoconus Center is less than 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, driving in either direction could take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes (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 California Keratoconus Center at the FlyAway Terminal in Van Nuys. A quick Uber gets you to our Center 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 405 and 101 Freeways intersection, 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 California Keratoconus Center, 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 California Keratoconus Center, 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 California Keratoconus Center.
  • 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 from the California Keratoconus Center.

Local Attractions

There is so much to see when visiting the California Keratoconus Center. We are located in Panorama City, in the San Fernando Valley, a huge part of Los Angeles. So all of Los Angeles is within driving distance of 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 one of our Keratoconus specialists. During that call, they will review your case, answer any questions you might have, and help you plan your visit, including travel questions. 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.