A lot of patients ask the question Why should is get my eyes dilated? Well, dilation is part of the examination in which the patient get drops put into the eyes. A lot of people may think that it is a hassle, but it gives us as the doctor a good look inside the eye. It is especially important if patients are having eye pain or vision problems, or if they have a family history of certain eye diseases or disorders.
The pupil gets smaller when light is shined into it. With dilation, the doctor uses special eye drops which allows the pupil to stay open when light is shined into it. That allows the doctor to get a wider view of the back of the eye, including the entire retina, the part of the retina called the macula, and the optic nerve.
During a dilated exam, the doctor can spot various problems like a torn or detached retina or an eye tumor. We can also diagnose and monitor common eye diseases that can take away your sight. Some of the diseases that we can see or diabetic retinopathy, Glaucoma, Age-Related Macular Degeneration. A few signs of Diabetic retinopathy include blood vessels that leak, swell, or grow abnormally in the retina. With Glaucoma the doctor looks for any damage being done to the optic nerve and Macular Degeneration we look for lipid and protein build up or pigment changes in the macular area
We recommend that patients get their eyes dilated at least once every 2 years if you have healthy eyes. However, if there are some type of ocular disease or if you have any medical disorder that can affect the eyes, it is recommend that you do the dilation every year. Each person eyes react differently to the dilation drops. It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes for the pupils to fully dilate. The dilation typically last for about 4 to 6 hours.
Dilation usually does not affect your distance vision. But because the pupils cannot control the amount of light going into the eyes, the glare outside may affect you. For some, this may make it seem a little more difficult to drive. But patients are given dark glasses to help out with the glare. If you have never gotten your eyes dilated and not sure how you will react to it you can always bring someone with you to drive you home from your appointment. Once you have had it done, you will know whether you can drive or not after an exam.