World KC Day Wrap-up: Keratoconus & Me Photo Contest

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World KC Day Wrap-up: Keratoconus & Me Photo Contest

NKCF, along with patient advocacy organizations in the UK, Barbados and Australia hosted a photo contest to celebrate World KC Day on November 10.

This year’s (2023) challenge was “thriving despite keratoconus”. Participants submitted photos of achievements not deterred by KC; accomplishments as diverse as graduations and marathons to pictures that featured hobbies and family.

This year’s winner was Carl Domke, of McKinney, Texas. Carl was diagnosed with keratoconus more than 65 years ago as a 16-year-old. Despite his failing vision, he graduated from college and had a career as a civil engineer. Carl has corneal transplants to both eyes, and underwent cataract surgery 6 years ago. These days much of Carl’s time is occupied with photography.

His favorite subjects are his grandkids and a nearby park. His winning photo layered three different shots into a visual collage expressing of how a contact lens can change the view. He shared “without this little lens, my life would have been much different.”

Runner-up Poppy McCabe is a recent graduate of Falmouth University in Cornwall, England. Poppy was enrolled in the graphic design program at this art-focused university when she was diagnosed with keratoconus almost 2 years ago. Poppy’s photo shows her amid a class project she created inspired by her condition. The installation invites visitors to explore visual distortions and topography-inspired images of corneas. She wrote, “My degree alone has been one of the most demanding challenges I have faced.” Congrats to Poppy who channeled her KC into art and achieved a 1st with honors in the visually demanding world of graphic design.

Listen to Poppy’s episode on Clearly KC Podcast. 




Second runner-up was Dylan Muyambo, a teacher from Cape Town, South Africa. Diagnosed with severe keratoconus at age 9, he underwent corneal transplants to both eyes before he was 20 years old. Dylan admits that reading, writing and marking papers is exhausting and can be a challenge. He relies on attentive listening when dealing with his students. He believes his passion for education is the result of difficulties he faced as a young student.

In his photo submission, Dylan is surrounded by his joyful students on a field trip. Dylan added, “Children find my journey with keratoconus inspiring and interesting.” 

Listen to Dylan’s episode on Clearly KC Podcast.