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Keratoconus Diagnosis and Treatment

The term, “Keratoconus” refers to an eye condition involving the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, thinning and warping into a cone-like bulge. This condition can do a great deal of harm to your vision. Normally the cornea maintains a curved, dome-like shape. This allows the cornea to refract light onto the back of the eye, in such a way that it creates a clear image to send to the brain where it is interpreted. When the cornea takes on a more conical shape, this scatters the light as it comes in, sending light to several different points on the retina, creating blurring of vision, distortion of vision, increased sensitivity to light, glare and mild eye irritation. Dr. David Seibel of VisionCare Consultants in St. Louis, MO is happy to be your go-to doctor for this and all other eye care needs.

Keratoconus Examination & Diagnosis

“Puberty is generally when keratoconus begins to emerge. It begins with mild astigmatism and myopia,” explains Dr. Seibel, “Although it usually affects both eyes, symptoms may be different in each individual eye. Usually keratoconus progresses quite slowly, getting worse over the course of roughly 10 or 20 years and then ceasing abruptly.”

Scientists are not sure what, exactly, causes a person to develop keratoconus. However, many studies seem to indicate that it is linked to genetics. This is based on statistics that 10% of all people who develop keratoconus have a previous family history of the condition. Excessive eye rubbing and other similar eye injuries, as well as certain eye diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity, and systemic diseases such as down syndrome also seem to be linked to the development of keratoconus.

Keratoconus can often be discovered during the course of a routine eye exam, through tests that help to determine the exact shape of the cornea. A slit-lamp examination is the most popular test used to diagnose keratoconus. This test involves your eye doctor directing a vertical beam of light onto your eye, then using a low-powered microscope to look at your eye to evaluate the shape of your cornea. Optical scanning techniques, such as optical coherence tomography and corneal topography may also be used to create a digital topography map of your cornea’s surface and measure the thickness of the cornea.

Keratoconus Treatment in St.Louis

Treatment depends on how severe symptoms have become. In the beginning the cornea still has some semblance of a normal shape, and eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be effective for vision correction. As the condition progresses, however, glasses and soft lenses are no longer effective, but rigid or hybrid contact lenses may still be worn to ensure that light entering the eye is refracted properly. Once symptoms have reached more sever levels, various other treatments are available, such as intacs. These small, curved implantable corneal devices help to reshape the cornea into a more dome-like shape, correcting refractive errors caused by the abnormal shape of the cornea. However, in about 10 to 20 percent of cases, good vision is impossible by any other means besides a corneal transplant. In a corneal transplant, your eye care professional removes the diseased cornea and replaces it with a healthy donor cornea. Eye care professionals prefer to avoid this procedure if possible, however, because in some cases it can take a full year to recover good vision after a corneal transplant.

Next, read about Eye Allergies.



Eyecare services are currently available for you, your children and family. However, please consult our Google Business page or call us for our current hours of operation. We want to advise you about the procedures and efforts that we are making to address the challenges regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus. (Read more)

Our efforts you can expect at our practice:

  • Staggered appointment times with minimal to no wait times in our reception area. Patients may also check in and wait outside in their cars to be called in for exam.
  • Following guidelines based upon medical evidence and closely monitoring the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Educating our doctors and staff on preventative measures provided by the CDC with daily staff meeting updates.
  • Increasing the frequency and extent of our cleaning practices, such as additional wipe downs of all hard surfaces including the front desk, examination rooms after every exam and additional cleaning for all “patient touch points” (door handles, eyeglasses, counter tops, and other high-touch surfaces).
  • Providing additional resources that are available to patients and employees including hand sanitizers, extra soap and paper towels at all sinks and restrooms.
  • Implementing heightened sanitation and hand-washing procedures for all staff.


  • Only bring scheduled patients to the office (1-Accompanied adult per minor or elderly patient).

  • If you recently traveled to any of the high risk countries within the past 30 days, please, delay & reschedule your appointment for 30 days after you returned from your travel.

  • If you have any flu-like symptoms (fever, chills body aches, & trouble breathing), please, delay your appointment for 30 days.

  • If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, and you arrive at our office, we will kindly ask you to leave & reschedule your appointment

  • Please notify us as soon as possible if you need to reschedule your appointment. This allows us to release your reserved time to another patient.

With appropriate precautions we will together address this challenge and modify behaviors that will make us better prepared to face such challenges in the future. Thank you for your cooperation.


Dr. Brawley, Dr. Friederich, Dr. Seibel, Dr. Wehner & Staff at Vision Care Consultants