WHEN IS IT NECESSARY TO DILATE THE EYE DURING AN EXAM?

Dr. Jim Martin 06/25/2015

speaking_with_eye_doctor.jpgDo you avoid eye exams because you don't like having your eyes dilated? Many people dread eye exams for just that reason. The bright light coming into the pupils is very uncomfortable and it can be difficult to see for hours afterwards. But, sometimes, it is a necessary part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Why Is Dilation Important?

Eye dilation involves applying drops, which cause the pupil to widen. Dilation allows more light into the inside of the eye, and also provides a wider view to the eye doctor peering in. This allows the eye doctor to see the back of the eye and makes it easier to diagnose common diseases and conditions.

Some of the diseases the eye doctor can diagnose with eye dilation include diabetes, high blood pressure, retinal detachment, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Each of these conditions can be serious if not diagnosed promptly. Eye exams are one way these diseases can be found early, making treatment and management easier.

When Is Dilation Necessary?

The eye doctor does not dilate the eyes of every patient that comes in for an exam. The need for dilation is normally determined by certain factors:

  • Age increases the chances of developing many optical diseases. The National Institutes for health recommend eye dilation exams for everyone over 60 for just that reason.

  • Eye health problems in the past are an indicator of future eye problems. The eye doctor will need to examine the inside of the eye on a regular basis to make sure nothing new is developing.

  • Overall health problems can increase the likelihood of eye problems developing. Diabetes is a good example of this. Without proper treatment, diabetes can cause blindness.

  • Family eye health history may show a propensity of developing certain conditions. The eye doctor may want to use dilation to monitor for these conditions.

  • The reason for the exam can also be a reason for the eye doctor to recommend dilation. If the patient comes in with certain symptoms, it may further warrant a look inside the eye.

If your eye doctor recommends dilation, you should have it done if possible. You may not have the time at your current appointment to have the procedure done. You can ask for another appointment to have the dilation done at a more convenient time. There are other ways to examine the inside of the eye, but they are not as effective as eye dilation.

Don't take chances with your eye health. If it has been a while since your last eye appointment, set one up today at Broome Optical in Amarillo. Our team of eye professionals is ready to help you with all your optical needs.

Schedule An Eye Exam