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Why Do I Need to Have My Eyes Dilated?

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Most people should be familiar with a visit to an eye doctor. They will typically be asked to read letters from a chart, and the professional will use some special instruments to have a closer look at their eyes. Yet sometimes the eye doctor will need to take a much closer look towards the back of the eye and may request that the patient is dilated. What is involved here and what's the reason for this procedure?

How It Works

Whenever eye dilation is requested, certain drops will be placed in each eye, and the patient will be asked to sit quietly for up to half an hour for them to take effect. These drops may sting to a certain extent when they are first administered, but this will typically clear quite quickly.

These special eye drops will cause the pupils to grow larger, and this will allow a lot more light towards the back of the eye. Consequently, the professional will be able to use their instruments to get a much clearer picture of the health of each eye, and this can help them to diagnose any conditions.

Reasons for Dilation

Typically, dilation is requested if there is any suggestion of diseases such as glaucoma, retinal detachment or macular degeneration. These conditions can develop with increasing age or if the patient is very shortsighted, and the eye doctor will want to check for any signs of an issue so that they can take further action if needed.

Frequency of Exam

Remember that the risk of contracting an eye disease does increase with age and don't be surprised if the doctor will want to dilate each eye for a closer examination once every year or so when you reach your 60s. If you have a history of issues, then they may want to perform this task more often, but they will typically discuss your specific case with you when you visit.

Going Home

Whenever you have your eyes dilated, your vision may be quite blurry, and the eyes will typically be much more sensitive to bright light. This condition will last for a few hours, so it is important to bring sunglasses or a hat to help you once you leave the clinic, and get somebody to drive you home at the end.

More Questions

If you need any further information about eye dilation, talk with your eye doctor, and they will explain all the details.