One of the most common questions we hear as eye doctors is, "do you really need to dilate my eyes?" The answer is - yes!
When your eyes are dilated, drops are given to enlarge the pupil. This allows more light to enter the eye so that the back of the eye, including the retina and the optic nerve, can be thoroughly examined. If the pupil is not dilated, then only a limited portion of the back of the eye can be seen. A dilated exam is like opening the door and stepping into the room, rather than just peeking through the key hole. Many conditions can be diagnosed with a dilated exam including:
- Retinal detachment
- Macular degeneration
Many of these conditions may be asymptomatic. A dilated exam can also help refine your glasses prescription.
Dilation is typically recommended about once per year. Although dilation lasts about 3-4 hours and increases your sensitivity to light, dilated eye exams can save vision and even save lives!