Why Are Eyes Dilated For An Eye Exam? Can I Avoid Dilation?

Going to an eye exam can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you are not familiar with the procedures that are involved. One such procedure that is often done is the dilation of your eyes. A lot of people feel apprehensive about this, mainly due to the fear of discomfort or pain. However, eye dilation is an essential part of any comprehensive eye exam. At Illinois Eye Center, we’re sharing important information on why eyes are dilated during an eye exam, what you can expect during the procedure, and what effective alternatives to dilation exist.

Understanding Dilation

To understand why eye dilation is necessary, we need to have an idea of what the eye exam entails. An eye exam is not just a test to determine if you need glasses; it also checks for eye diseases and general eye health. In most cases, dilation is required to give your eye doctor a better view of your eyes’ interior. The dilation of your eyes will allow the doctor to examine the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels more clearly and spot any potential issues.

Now that we know why dilation is necessary let’s get into the procedure itself. During the exam, the provider will place drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. These drops take around 10 to 20 minutes to start taking effect. Once your pupils are dilated, your doctor will examine your eyes with a special light to have a better view. While the procedure does cause significant discomfort, the drops can cause a slight stinging sensation and lead to temporary blurred vision.

After the dilation has taken effect, you will find that your vision has become blurry, and your eyes have become more sensitive to light. This is due to the fact that your pupils have opened up, allowing more light into the eyes, causing difficulty in adjusting. It’s important to note that this will only last a few hours, and most people can return to normal activities as soon as you’re done with the exam. It should be noted that some patients recover more slowly from dilation, so having a back-up plan is a good idea, should you find yourself unable to drive immediately following your exam.

While eye dilation is necessary for comprehensive eye exams, it’s also a crucial tool for early detection of eye diseases. A comprehensive eye exam can detect several eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and macular degeneration. Early detection of these diseases can lead to a better prognosis and more successful treatment.

Alternative to Dilation

Optos is a relatively new technology offered at Illinois Eye Center that allows optometrists ato capture a wider view of the eye without the need for dilation. The system uses a special advanced retinal imaging technology that captures a 200-degree view of the retina in a single image. This means that the doctor can see almost the entire retina in one go, making it easier to detect any abnormalities or conditions that may affect your eye health.

One of the significant advantages of Optos is that it is a non-invasive procedure, which means that there are no eye drops required, and patients can get back to their daily routine right after the exam. In addition, because the procedure takes only a few minutes, it is a suitable option for those who may not be able to tolerate eye dilation.

Another benefit of Optos is that it provides a detailed view of the retina. The high-resolution images produced by Optos help optometrists to detect and monitor eye conditions effectively. This is especially important for diseases like glaucoma, where early detection and treatment can help prevent further damage to the optic nerve. It should be noted that there is an additional charge for Optos at Illinois Eye Center.

In conclusion, eye dilation is an essential part of a comprehensive eye exam. The benefits of the exam outweigh the discomfort caused by the dilation of the eyes. Without a dilated eye exam or alternative, several eye diseases can go unnoticed, leading to a delay in treatment and, in severe cases, vision loss. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not skip a comprehensive eye exam, even if you dread the dilation procedure. If you do dread dilation, ask your Illinois Eye Center doctor about the Optos alternative.  Always remember, healthy eyes lead to a happier and healthier life. Schedule that regular comprehensive eye exam at Illinois Eye Center by clicking here.