Is eye dilation necessary in an eye examination

Pupil dilation occurs when the opening in the center of your iris grows bigger to let in more light. Under normal circumstances, pupils can dilate to let in more light or in response to a variety of stimuli.

The eye is a beautiful organ, and it is the only place in the human body where a doctor can see a part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve. The observation of that nerve is a crucial part of a comprehensive eye examination.

Both the dilated and the undilated eye exams provide important information to an eye doctor. One of the first parts of a comprehensive eye exam is a test of your vision, and perhaps a measurement to determine an eyeglass prescription, both of which require that your eyes remain undilated. This can be important for determining whether the visual pathways for each eye are functioning properly. When the angle is narrow, only portions of the drainage angle are visible, and in acute angle-closure glaucoma, none of it is visible.

Part of a glaucoma examination is formal visual field testingwhere your peripheral, or side vision, is tested. Ideally, your eyes are not dilated during this test. Finally, there are other parts of the front of the eye, the iris for example, which should be examined when your eyes are not dilated. The view to the back of the eye is limited when the pupil is not dilated. When your pupil is small, an eye doctor can see your optic nerve and macula but the view is limited.

In order to see the entire retina, the pupil must be dilated. This is achieved through the use of eye drops. When eyes are dilated during an eye exam, it typically takes hours for pupils to return to normal. Some individuals may experience eye dilation that lasts longer. Once your eyes are dilated, there is an increase in light sensitivity because the pupil is large and more light is coming through, so bring your sunglassesor your ophthalmologist may provide some disposable shades for your use.

You may also experience blurry vision, particularly if you are trying to read. If it is your first time having your eyes dilated or you know your vision is too impaired for driving after dilation, bring a friend or companion to drive you home from your examination. While in the past there were some eye drops that could reverse the dilation, these are no longer available, so you will have to wait the hours before the drops completely wear off.

The optic nerve can be seen through an undilated pupil, but for optimum viewing a dilated pupil is required. This is important for the diagnosis of glaucomaas well as other diseases of the optic nerve. Learn about what to expect during a glaucoma eye exam. Two very common retinal diseases, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration AMDare diagnosed and monitored by examining the retina through a dilated pupil.

Learn about what to expect during a macular degeneration eye exam. In addition to macular degeneration and glaucoma, there are many other conditions that require pupil dilation, such as detection of a retinal tear or detachment, or an ocular tumor, just to name a few.

As part of a comprehensive eye examination, pupil dilation is very important at revealing the status of your optic nerve and retina, and is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss. This content was last updated on: February 27, The information provided here is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and should not in any way substitute for personalized advice of a qualified healthcare professional; it is not intended to constitute medical advice.

Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product, therapy, or resources mentioned or listed in this article.The solution feels somewhat unctuous and uncomfortable, and it might distort your close-range vision for an hour or two, but other than that, you might not know much about it.

Your doctor might tell you that the substance helps to dilate your pupils, but he may not have elaborated further. For all of you who may be curious as to why your pupils require dilation during an eye exam, read on! The retina is the only place in the human body where blood vessels and neural tissue can be directly observed without any sort of surgery.

Once the pupil is fully dilated which takes approximately thirty minutes after application of the eyedrops the optometrist can see all the way to the back of the eye. By looking through the pupil, an optometrist can easily examine the retina with a flashlight. Normally, direct light would cause the pupil to shrink to the size of a pencil point, making a very small aperture for the optometrist to view the retina.

By dilating the pupils and effectively paralyzing the muscles that respond to light by expanding and contracting the pupil, the optometrist is able to view the entire retina through a larger window. Examining the retina is very important, since several disease s and conditions can be detected in their earliest stages simply by observing the retinal tissue. Some of these conditions include diabetes, eye tumors, macular degeneration, glaucomaand high blood pressure.

The short answer is no.

The Dilated Eye Exam: Why It's So Important

Not every exam requires a pupil dilation, but checking the inside of your eyes is usually a good idea during an eye appointment. Before determining whether dilation is necessary for you, your optometrist will consider the following criteria:.

Has it been awhile since your last dilation? Is it time for an eye exam? Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at or request your appointment online. Share with your friends. At just about every eye exam, the optometrist or ophthalmologist administers some sort of yellow gel-like fluid directly onto your eyes with a pipette.

Have a comment or question? Click here to cancel reply.Whether eye dilation during an exam is necessary depends on the reason for your exam, your age, your overall health and your risk of eye diseases.

The eye drops used for dilation cause your pupils to widen, allowing in more light and giving your doctor a better view of the back of your eye. Eye dilation assists your doctor in diagnosing common diseases and conditions, possibly at their earliest stages.

is eye dilation necessary in an eye examination

They include:. Eye dilation also makes your vision blurry and your eyes more light sensitive, which, for a few hours, can affect your ability to drive or work. So if eye dilation is greatly inconvenient, ask your doctor about arranging another appointment. Alternatives to dilation are available, but they aren't as effective for allowing a careful examination of the back of your eye.

Why Do They Dilate the Eyes Before an Eye Test?

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This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. See more conditions. Request Appointment. Eye dilation: Necessary with every eye exam? Products and services. Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.

Sign up now. Is it necessary to have my eyes dilated during every eye exam? Answer From Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O. With Alaina L. Show references Comprehensive adult medical eye evaluation - American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed Jan. What is a comprehensive dilated eye exam? National Eye Institute. Aging and your eyes. National Institute on Aging. Facts about glaucoma. What to expect when your eyes are dilated. Frequency of ocular examinations - Softing Hataye AL expert opinion.

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Pseudotumor cerebri Retinoblastoma Rett syndrome Screen time making your eyes buggy?Have you ever wondered why your optometrist or ophthalmologist use eye drops to dilate your eyes before an eye test? These drops help your eye doctor examine your eyes to find warning signs that you have an eye disease.

The most common eye drops used to dilate pupils is Atropine Sulfate. Without pupil dilation, the pupil will close up each time the doctor shines a light on it. According to Mayo Clinicdilating your eyes is the best way to ensure your doctor can fully examine your ocular health. You may not need to have your eyes dilated with each exam, however.

Factors which determine the need for dilation include:. With narrow-angle glaucoma, dilating drops could prevent eyes from draining properly; you may need to take pressure lowering drops before having your eyes dilated. What Is Telemedicine in Healthcare? If you are enrolled in Medicaid, you may be able to find an eye doctor near that accepts Medicaid.

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Thanks for signing up and welcome to the club! See what's in store. EyeQue Corporation. All rights reserved. EyeQue does not perform or provide optometry services, nor does it represent itself as a licensed optometrist. EyeQue products and services do not include any form of eye health exam. Review more legal notices and terms here. Support Contact Us Chat Account. Back to source page. EyeQue Team. May 10, How do dilating eye drops work?

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What does the eye doctor examine after dilating my eyes? Factors which determine the need for dilation include: Age — Seniors ages 60 and older should have an annual dilated eye exam.

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Ethnicity — Black and Latinx Americans are at higher risk for glaucoma and should have a dilated eye exam at least biannually once they reach the age of Family history — If your family has a history of eye disease, you are at an increased risk. If I have glaucoma, is dilation dangerous? Previous Article Pregnancy and Vision.

What Is Telemedicine? EyeQue Team November 19, EyeQue Team July 26, Does Medicaid Cover Eye Exams? EyeQue Team June 26, This article will walk you through the eye dilation process and answer the question why is eye dilation necessary? Most eye doctors feel it is really important to include a dilation with every comprehensive eye exam. Generally, after the check-in process you will be taken back to a pre-testing room, where the exam process will begin with a thorough case history.

In most cases the exam will start off with checking your vision at distance and up close. They are going to check your pupils and your peripheral vision. From there, they are going to read your glasses if you wear them, so make sure you bring them.

During the final process the doctor is going to get you the most accurate prescription he or she can. To check your prescription, the technician will work with what is called an auto refractor. This is a computerized measurement of what your prescription may be.

The technician will look at your glasses and the auto refraction numbers to start your refraction process in order to come up with the most accurate prescription for you. The first drop will numb your eyes so they can lightly touch the eye and measure its pressure.

It is a painless process. After the glaucoma test is measured, the next step will be to dilate the eyes. There is no pain in the process of dilation of the eyes because the first drop from the eye pressure test will numb your eyes.

The Importance of Dilation in an Eye Exam

Actually your eyes will feel numb, heavy, and sticky for about 20 minutes. Most optometrists will use two sets of eye drops to dilate the pupil. One set will help relax the focus of the eyes and keep the pupils from seeing smaller bright lights. As we know bright light will make the pupils constrict, and this drop freezes that muscles ability.

They will then use a second eye drop which also extends the ability to dilate the eye muscle as well. So basically they will use two medications to allow them a better, broader look into your eye. Each patient will dilate at a different rate.

Patients with light eyes, such as blue eyes or green eyes, are going to dilate quicker. Patients with really dark eyes, like brown eyes or dark pigmented eyes, will dilate slower.

is eye dilation necessary in an eye examination

In general, the dilation process for most patients will be between 20 and 30 minutes. Again, that process is about minutes for a full dilation.Author: Virginia Rainey.

Is It Necessary to Have Your Eyes Dilated During Every Eye Exam?

A thorough, dilated exam allows your ophthalmologist to do a complete exam of the retina, and that is important to do throughout your life, as several eye diseases and conditions are detected at their earliest stages during a thorough eye exam:.

On the other hand, Dr. We dilate because they have a greater capacity to accommodate and to allow the doctor to use an objective measure to confirm their prescription i.

The risk of eye diseases increases with age—particularly over age Eye health. Overall health. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, increase the risk of eye disease. Reason for the exam. Are you in good health, under 40 and wondering if you need vision correction? You may not need a dilated exam this time, but know that you should have one at least every few years and more frequently as you get older. You can discuss this with your doctor.

If you have new, worrisome eye symptoms or vision problems, then eye dilation may be necessary to make a diagnosis. Results of previous exams: If recent eye exams have included eye dilation with no unusual findings, it may be possible to skip the eye-dilation portion of your next exam.

Children should receive their first comprehensive eye examination before the age of 3, unless a specific condition or history of family childhood vision problems warrants an earlier examination. People ages 20 to 30 should have an eye exam every two years, unless visual changes, pain, flashes of light, new floaters, injury, or tearing occurs. Then, immediate care is necessary. Yearly exams become important in the late thirties, when changes in vision and focus along with eye diseases, are more likely to develop.

Mar 05, AM Author: Virginia Rainey A thorough, dilated exam allows your ophthalmologist to do a complete exam of the retina, and that is important to do throughout your life, as several eye diseases and conditions are detected at their earliest stages during a thorough eye exam: Diabetes Eye tumors High blood pressure Infectious diseases Macular degeneration Retinal detachment Vasculitis Glaucoma Prescription Only?

General Guidelines Children should receive their first comprehensive eye examination before the age of 3, unless a specific condition or history of family childhood vision problems warrants an earlier examination. Anyone with a history of visual problems should get routine preventive care. Get weekly emails of the latest news from HealthFeed.Posted in Uncategorized June 17, Any time someone mentions an exam of any kind, most people draw back in apprehension.

This response is understandable, as the unknown is usually frightening for the majority of people.

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However, a bit of knowledge on the subject may help alleviate some of the fears. What if you were told the exam would be pain-free and could potentially save your life?

Such is the case with a routine eye exam. It will cause you no pain and could save your life. To help further educate you on this topic, here are a few things to expect during a routine eye exam and whether dilation is necessary. During the beginning part of your routine eye exam, the optometrist or ophthalmologist will test your vision. S he will also measure your eyes to help determine if you need a prescription for glasses.

This step can help establish whether the visual pathways are functioning correctly. A visual field test is another component of the glaucoma assessment. This quick exam will check out your peripheral or side vision. Once the initial routine eye exam is complete, the pupil dilation portion of the exam takes place. In this portion of the exam, your doctor will place a few drops of a solution in each of your eyes that cause the pupils to dilate or widen.

This enlargement of the pupils allows more light into the eye and gives your doctor a better view of the back of your eyes. This process assists the eye doctor in diagnosing common diseases and conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.

If caught in their earliest stages, treatments for these and other conditions may be available to prevent damage to your health or loss of vision. An alternative to dilating your pupils is a digital retinal imaging eye exam.

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Unlike pupil dilation that requires the use of drops, this exam takes a precise digital image of the back of your eyes, which will provide your doctor with a visualization of the health of the retina, blood vessels, and surrounding structures. This exam is quick, painless and will not leave you with blurred vision for hours as the dilation drops do.

If you suffer from conditions like diabetes or are over the age of 50, your optometrist may suggest this eye exam as an alternative to dilating your pupils. Like dilation, diseases detected using retinal imaging include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes.

Hopefully, this information regarding a routine eye exam and dilating pupils will have you feeling a bit less nervous when it comes to making an eye appointment.

Do I Need an Annual Dilated Eye Exam?

Maintaining good eye health is a must throughout life and should not be avoided out of fear. Contact your eye care professional to make your next eye appointment and discuss your concerns today.

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