Many patients come into the office thinking they are just going to get their glasses or contact lens prescription updated during their eye exam.
Why would I need to be dilated for that?
The annual comprehensive exam actually consists of the doctor evaluating the health of your eye, and getting dilated allows the doctor to get the best look at what is going on in the back of your eye. By looking at the back of your eye, the doctor is able to diagnose a multitude of ocular and systemic conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure!
The doctor will instill some dilation drops in your eye, which opens up the black hole in your eye, otherwise known as your pupil. Opening up the pupil allows the doctor to have a wider window to look into the retina, which is the back of your eye.
Dilation drops take about 15-30 minutes to take full effect, and usually lasts 4-6 hours.
Normally, when light shines into your eye, the pupil gets smaller and blocks out some of the light coming in. The dilation drops force the pupil to stay open which causes the patient to be more sensitive to the light and have blurry vision while the drops are in the eye.
Why would the doctor want to look at the back of my eye?
Once your eye is completely dilated, the doctor will take their Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy (BIO) headset and lens to take a look at the back of your eye. With a dilated exam, the doctor can diagnose conditions such as:
Glaucoma: The optic nerve can be assessed to diagnose glaucoma
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Several signs of AMD present on the retina and can be seen during a dilated exam
Diabetic retinopathy: Swollen or leaking blood vessels in the retina are assessed Detached Retina: Detached retinas lead to visual field loss and can be seen during a dilated exam
How often should I get my eyes dilated?
How often you should get your eyes dilated depends on various factors such as age and family history. If you have no ocular health conditions, you should get your eyes dilated every other year. Anyone over the age of 60 should get their eyes dilated annually. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to talk to an Optic Gallery doctor today!
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If you live in or around the Las Vegas area and need the expert knowledge of a skilled optometrist, stop by one of our Optic Gallery locations! Our staff is always happy to assist you with all of your needs.