Having your eyes dilated is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam. It helps your eye doctor to detect any potential issues, such as eye inflammation, amblyopia (lazy eye), and other chronic conditions. If you haven't had your eyes dilated before your 60th birthday, it's recommended that you start getting them done annually. Dilation involves the use of special eye drops that stimulate the muscles surrounding the pupil to contract or relax the muscles so that they open.
Once exposed to light (such as the one the eye doctor will need to use for several eye health tests), they contract. This allows your eye doctor to examine the retina, optic nerve, blood vessels, and other parts of the eye that could not otherwise be seen. If you have had any eye health problems before, such as retinal detachment, or ongoing problems, such as glaucoma, you should have an annual dilation. Having a dilated eye exam every one to two years will help keep you and your eyes as healthy as possible.
Most eye doctors recommend that general eye exams begin in childhood, but not all eye exams include dilation. If your eye doctor detects something worrying during a regular eye exam, you should follow their advice and let them dilate your eyes. Realistically, it's a quick and relatively painless procedure that's part of a complete eye exam. While dilating your eyes may seem like a hassle, it's important to remember that they will be sensitive to light and that their vision may be somewhat blurred.
Many patients drive on their own after having their eyes dilated, but it's important to be careful whenever your vision is blurry or your eyes are sensitive to light. In conclusion, having your eyes dilated is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam. It helps your eye doctor to detect any potential issues and keep you and your eyes as healthy as possible. It's recommended that you start getting them done annually after your 60th birthday and follow your doctor's advice if they detect something worrying during a regular eye exam.