Eyes provide crucial insight into your body’s overall health. Your eyes are the only place in the body where your doctor has an unobstructed view of blood vessels, nerves, and connecting tissue. This allows doctors to detect not only numerous eye diseases but other health conditions, like diabetes as well. In a comprehensive eye exam, your pupils will be dilated to increase the visibility of the back of the eye. Here’s what to expect with eye dilation and why its an important part of an eye exam.
The pupil is the dark round opening at the center of your iris (the colored part of the eye) and is responsible for the amount of light that enters your eye. It will dilate (widen) or shrink the pupil to allow more or less light into the eye.
For your doctor to get a better, clearer view of your eye your eyes need to be dilated during the exam. Dilation allows doctors to see not only the back of your eye but also the macula (the functional center of the retina) and the optic nerve.
When your eyes are dilated, doctors can detect multiple eye conditions such as a detached retina, eye diseases that threaten sight like glaucoma, and diabetes. Many eye diseases don’t have noticeable symptoms or signs. Prioritizing an annual eye exam can help with early diagnosis, prevent vision loss and maintain eye health.
Your doctor will put dilating eye drops into each of your eyes, and it will take about 30 minutes for your pupils to fully open. Some symptoms that follow eye dilation:
Dilation will last 3-7 hours, so consider having someone transport you to your appointment, and bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight until the symptoms subside.
Regular eye exams and the pupil dilation that accompanies them are critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss. Make the decision for healthy vision and schedule an eye exam today.