| Dilation: Opening Your Eyes
To Better Health
Q. What is dilation of your
To dilate your eyes, your optometrist uses drops to
cause your pupils, the black spots which are openings, to enlarge. With your pupils
dilated, your optometrist has a better opportunity to examine the inside of your
Q. Who should have their
If you are a patient new to a practice or have a
personal or family history of eye health problems, your optometrist may suggest
dilating your eyes. Certain conditions may increase your risk for eye health problems.
For example, if you are diabetic or highly nearsighted, your optometrist may recommend
a dilated examination. Your age and other factors may also indicate to your doctor
that dilation is needed.
Q. Who should not have
their pupils dilated?
Based on your current and past health, any allergies
you might have or any medication you may be taking, your optometrist will determine
if your eyes should not be dilated. Be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies,
reactions to drugs or health problems you have had.
Q. What drugs are
used to dilate?
Drugs called mydriatics are used, the specific type
and strength depending on your own individual needs.
Q. How long does dilation
The current drugs used to dilate are fast-acting.
Dilation usually occurs in 20 to 45 minutes.
Q. How long will
With some exceptions, the effects usually last from
four to six hours.
Q. Are there
drops available to help reverse the dilation effects more rapidly?
Yes. Dr. Reeves offers this convenience to all her patients
over the age of 18.
Q. What does the doctor
Imagine looking into a room through a partially opened
door. You only see a portion of the room. But if the door is open wide, you can
see much more of the room. By enlarging the pupil and using certain instruments,
your doctor is able to see more of the structures inside your eye. If you have
certain signs or symptoms, the doctor will have a better chance of detecting their
cause by seeing more of the inside of your eye. This is especially true if the
disease or condition is located peripherally along the side of your eye.
Q. What are the side
effects, if any?
Most people encounter few, if any, side effects. Dilation
may cause you to experience glare, some sensitivity to light and some blurring
of your near vision and may affect your ability to drive. If you are uncomfortable
about this, arrange for someone to come along with you to drive you home.
Just a reminder
To reduce problems with light sensitivity and glare following
dilation, bring along a pair of sunglasses. If you wear contact lenses, bring
your backup glasses; your doctor may want you to wear them until dilation has
Dilation can lead to healthier eyes
Dilation can help your optometrist tell if your eyes are
healthy. Dilation is very safe and its unlikely that you will experience much
inconvenience or discomfort. Dilation, when needed, provides you with the most
thorough eye health examination possible. You and your eyes will be healthier