How Important Is Dilation in Eye Exams?

People who went through a comprehensive eye exam know how important dilation is in eye exams. Eye drops are applied to your eyes to make your eyesight blurry for hours. Some people find it annoying but the eye drops to dilate your eyes are a vital part of an eye exam.

The eye doctor will examine the optic nerve and retina where pupil dilation is performed to increase the size of the pupil in an eye exam. The exam is important to prevent and treat eye conditions that can potentially result in vision loss.

Pupil dilation is done because it allows more light to go through which allows the eye doctor to get a better view. These are the common diseases that can be detected with the help of eye dilation:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be indicated with eye dilation that reveals the yellow deposits that are known to be drunsen or clumps of pigment behind the retina. AMD is one of the common causes of vision loss.

Glaucoma can be indicated in a dilated eye exam because it shows changes to the optic nerve fibers that can be observed in shape and color. Glaucoma can also be indicated when there is excessive cupping where the optic nerve fibers exit the eye to enter the brain.

Diabetic retinopathy can be indicated with eye dilation because the exam will show if there is a swelling or leaking of blood vessels in the retina. An abnormal blood vessel growth can also be observed when the eye is dilated which indicates you have diabetic retinopathy.

dilation in eye exams

What Should I Expect During the Test?

During a comprehensive eye exam, the eye doctor will pour eye drops in your eyes which will take 20 minutes until the pupils have fully dilated. Be ready because you may experience a slight stinging in your eyes or might taste medicine-like in your mouth. The doctor will use a bright light in your eyes once the pupils are dilated to see the retina.

dilation in eye exams

What Should I Expect After the Test?

Have a plan after the test because your vision will be blurry. A wraparound sunglasses may be provided by your eye doctor but bring a pair just in case your eyes will be sensitive to light. You are not advised to drive after an eye exam, so it is a good idea to bring someone with you.

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