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Kenneth A. Polse, OD, MS, FAAO

Ken Polse.

Professor Emeritus Optometry and Vision Science

School of Optometry & Vision Science

Research Area
Clinical Science



Professor of the Graduate School


Optometry 441A-C. Specialty Clinics<
Examination, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and management of patients in Dry Eye Clinic.

Vision Science 84, Section 2: Sophomore Seminar: Current Topics in U.S. Healthcare
This seminar examines some of the major topics/controversies in US healthcare delivery. The aim of this seminar is to heighten our awareness of the issues in today’s health care. Typically, the class will review a news story, media presentation, or editorial that will serve as the beginning for class discussion/debate. Some of the topics will include single payer vs. 3rd-party medical coverage; factors driving the cost of medical care, strategies to control medical costs; the role of insurance companies, pharmacological and device manufactures, hospitals, physician groups and government in developing health care policy; healthy living; how to evaluate products/procedures; preventative measures; end of life issues; nursing elder care; and defensive medicine.

Optometry 246. Disease and Treatment of Anterior Segment Ocular Disease
Pathophysiology, pharmacotherapy, and clinical management of systemic and ocular disease through a combination of lectures and problem-based learning approaches; disease processes emphasized, including cellular injury and repair, inflammation, infection, degeneration, and neoplasia; neurologic, cardiovascular, endocrine, pulmonary, and congenital disease and their relative ocular manifestations; basic principles of pharmacology and overviews of drugs used to treat diseases of each system; role of the optometrist in the health care system.

Research Interests

From 1972 to 2003, Professor Kenneth A. Polse served the UC Berkeley School of Optometry in many roles, including faculty member, Clinic Director, and Associate Dean. His research focused on cornea and contact lenses, methodological and laboratory strategies for non-invasive in vivo assessment of human corneal function, and the effects of disease, environment, and medical intervention on corneal structure and function.

Professor Polse retired from the Berkeley Optometry and Vision Science faculty in 2005, but remains active. He is currently a Professor of the Graduate School at UC Berkeley, and Director of the Berkeley Clinical Scientist Development Program (BCSDP), an important clinical training program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) featuring novel and exciting opportunities for intensive training in clinical patient-based research.

Professor Polse continues to advise students engaged in projects related to contact lenses, cornea, and ocular surface disease. He also consults with other UCB faculty on research projects and serves as a consultant to several ophthalmic companies in the private sector.

In Fall 2011, Dr. Polse, along with Professors Meng C. Lin and Nancy A. McNamara established the UC Berkeley Dry Eye Clinic, which serves as a diagnostic and treatment center for patients who suffer from ocular surface disease, including dye eye discomfort and disability.

Students interested in patient-based research in these areas are encouraged to contact Professor Polse. If possible, he will try to organize a research environment that will provide experience and training in cornea, contact lenses, and ocular surface disease.

Selected Publications

Lin MC, Graham AD, Polse KA, McNamara NA, Tieu TG: The effects of one-hour wear of high oxygen permeable soft lenses on corneal pH and epithelial permeability. CLAO J, 2000; 26(3): 130-33.

Fusaro, RE, Polse, KA, Graham AD, Gan CM, Rivera RK, Lin MC, Sanders TL, McNamara NA, Chan JS: The Berkeley contact lens extended wear study: Part I – Study design. Ophthalmol 2001; 108(8): 1381-88.

Polse KA, Fusaro RE, Graham AD, Gan CM, Rivera RK, Lin MC, Sanders TL, McNamara NA, Chan JS: The Berkeley contact lens extended wear study: Part II – Clinical results. Ophthalmol 2001; 108(8): 1389-99.

Graham AD, Fusaro RE, Polse KA, Lin MC, Giasson CJ: Predicting extended wear complications from overnight corneal swelling. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2001; 42(13): 3150-57.

Lin MC, Graham AD, Polse KA, Fusaro RE. The Impact of Rigid Contact Lens Extended Wear on Corneal Epithelial Barrier Function. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2002; 43(4): 1019-1024.

Miller KL, Polse KA, and Radke CJ. Black-line formation and the “perched” human tear film. Current Eye Research, 2002; 25(3):155-162.

Miller KL, Polse KA, and Radke CJ. Fenestrations enhance tear mixing under soft contact lenses. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2003; 44(1):60-67.

Lin MC, Chen YQ, Polse KA: The effects of ocular and lens parameters on the post-lens tear thickness. Eye & Contact Lens, Suppl, 2003, 29(15):S33-S36.

Lin MC, Soliman GN, Song MJ, Smith JP, Lin CT, Chen YQ, Polse KA: Soft contact lens extended wear affects corneal epithelial permeability: Hypoxic or mechanical etiology? CL & Anterior Segment 2003; 26:11-16.

Lin, MC, Soliman GN, Lim VA, Giese ML, Wofford LE, Marmo C, Radke C, Polse KA: Scalloped Channels Enhance Tear Mixing Under Hydrogel Contact Lenses. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, accepted for publication Nov. 2006.