Dilated Eye Exam: Everything You Need to Know

Introducing the dilated eye exam – what it is and why it’s important

A dilated eye exam is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam. During a dilated eye exam, is an examination of the inside of your eyes to check for any sign of disease. The exam is important because it allows your doctor to see the health of your retina, the nerve tissue that lines the back of your eye, and the macula, the small area of the retina that provides sharp, central vision.

During a dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. This dilation enables your eye care professional to see inside your eyes more easily and to look for early signs of disease.

What to expect during a dilated eye exam?

Dilated eye exams can help diagnose many different eye problems, including:

Age-related macular degeneration

• Cataracts

• Diabetic retinopathy

• Glaucoma

If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent vision loss.

After the drops are placed in your eyes, it will take about 20-30 minutes for your pupils to fully dilate. During this time, your vision will be blurry and you may have trouble seeing in bright light.

After your pupils have dilated, your doctor will use a special magnifying lens to look at your retina and the back of your eye.

He or she will also check your eye pressure and look for any signs of damage to your optic nerve. The dilated eye exam is the best way to detect many eye diseases, such as glaucoma, early. It is important to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year, especially if you are over the age of 60 or have a family history of glaucoma.

How can you prepare for a dilated eye exam?

Dilating the pupils also can make your eyes more sensitive to light and blurry for several hours. You may want to bring sunglasses to your appointment and plan to have someone drive you home afterward.

The effects of dilating eye drop last a few to several hours. Your eye doctor cannot tell you how blurry your vision will be and for how long. That depends on the dilating eye drop used and how your eyes react.

A dilated eye exam is an important test for detecting many eye problems, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. This test is usually performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

What are the benefits of a dilated eye exam?

Dilating drops can also be used to treat certain eye conditions. These include eye inflammation and amblyopia, also called a lazy eye, in which one eye doesn’t properly connect with the brain. Dilating drops used as treatment have the same effects as drops used during exams.

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