An eye exam can do much more than determine your need for corrective eyewear. In fact, comprehensive eye exams that include dilation are important to help your doctor see the early symptoms of both vision-related and overall health problems.
When your eyes are dilated, the doctor can usually view the entire retina, including the blood vessels and optic nerve. This allows the doctor to see early signs of damage that could be indicators of serious conditions such as diabetes, tumors, high blood pressure, infectious diseases, macular degeneration and retinal detachment to name a few.
Factors such as age, medical and eye health history, other vision symptoms and previous eye exam results may increase the importance of dilation for you specifically.
If your doctor recommends dilation, he or she will put special drops in your eyes to cause the pupil to open wider. They take only a few minutes to take effect. The doctor will then use a special magnifying lens and a light to examine the retina and optic nerve.
Afterwards the doctor will discuss any findings and necessary follow-up. The doctor will also note the findings in your record for comparison at future eye exams.
While your eyes are dilated, they will be more sensitive to light. If you do not have sunglasses with you, the doctor’s office will likely have disposable shades for you to use as you leave. You may also experience difficulty with close-up vision until the drops wear off, usually within a few hours.
-source: American Optometric Association
-provided by Antone Optical