Dilation is part of a thorough. You may think itБs a hassle. But it gives your doctor a good look inside your. ItБs especially important if youБre having
or problems, or if youБre more likely to get certain eye diseases. Normally, your pupil gets smaller when light shines into it. In dilation, your doctor uses special eye drops to force the pupil to stay open. That allows him to see much more of the back of your, including the entire retina, the part of the retina called the, and the optic nerve. During a dilated exam, your doctor can spot problems like a torn or or an eye tumor. They can also diagnose and monitor common eye diseases that can take away your sight: : Signs include vessels that leak, swell, or grow abnormally in the retina. : Your doctor looks for damage to the optic nerve. Age-related : Protein or pigment buildup and unusual growth of vessels are symptoms of a breakdown of the macula. How Long Does It Last? EveryoneБs react differently to the dilation drops. It usually takes 15 to 30 minutes for your pupils to open completely. Most people are back to normal within about 4 to 6 hours. But for you, the effects could wear off more quickly, or they could last much longer. Can I Drive? Dilation doesnБt typically affect your distance. But because your pupils canБt control the amount of light going into your eyes, the glare outside may bother you. For some people, that makes it unsafe to drive. If youБve never had your dilated, get someone else to drive you home from your appointment. Once youБve had it done, youБll know whether dilation means you canБt drive after an exam.
Whether or not you get behind the wheel, itБs a good idea to bring with you so you can shield your eyes after the exam. The eye is a beautiful organ, and it is the only place in the human body where a doctor can see a part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve. The observation of that nerve is a crucial part of a comprehensive eye examination. Both the dilated and the undilated eye exams provide important information to an eye doctor. LetБs explore the undilated exam first. The Undilated Eye Exam One of the first parts of a comprehensive eye exam is a test of your vision, and perhaps a measurement to determine an eyeglass prescription, both of which require that your eyes remain undilated. In addition, eye doctors will examine your responses to light prior to dilation. This can be important for determining whether the visual pathways for each eye are functioning properly. There is also an examination, called gonioscopy, which allows the doctor to examine your eyeБs drainage angle with a special mirrored lens. The БangleБ that is being referred to is the angle between the iris, which makes up the colored part of your eye, and the cornea, which is the clear window front part of your eye. When the angle is open, your ophthalmologist can see most, if not all, of your eyeБs drainage system. When the angle is narrow, only portions of the drainage angle are visible, and in acute angle-closure glaucoma, none of it is visible. Part of a glaucoma examination is formal visual field testing, where your peripheral, or side vision, is tested.
Ideally, your eyes are not dilated during this test. Finally, there are other parts of the front of the eye, the iris for example, which should be examined when your eyes are not dilated. The Dilated Eye Exam The view to the back of the eye is limited when the pupil is not dilated. When your pupil is small, an eye doctor can see your but the view is limited. In order to see the entire retina, the pupil must be dilated. This is achieved through the use of eye drops. They typically take about 15-30 minutes to fully dilate the pupils, depending the personБs response to the medication, and typically take 4-6 hours to wear off. Once your eyes are dilated, there is an increase in light sensitivity because the pupil is large and more light is coming through, so bring your sunglasses, or your ophthalmologist may provide some disposable shades for your use. You may also experience blurry vision, particularly if you are trying to read. Some patients feel a БtighteningБ or different sensation in their eyelids. If it is your first time having your eyes dilated or you know your vision is too impaired for driving after dilation, bring a friend or companion to drive you home from your examination. While in the past there were some eye drops that could reverse the dilation, these are no longer available, so you will have to wait the 4-6 hours before the drops completely wear off. What Conditions are Diagnosed with a Dilated Eye Exam? Glaucoma The optic nerve can be seen through an undilated pupil, but for optimum viewing a dilated pupil is required.
This is important for the diagnosis of, as well as other diseases of the optic nerve. Macular Degeneration Two very common retinal diseases, diabetic retinopathy and (AMD), are diagnosed and monitored by examining the retina through a dilated pupil. Other Conditions In addition to macular degeneration and glaucoma, there are many other conditions that require pupil dilation, such as detection of a retinal tear or detachment, or an ocular tumor, just to name a few. How Frequently Should You Have a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam? The National Eye Institute generally recommends that starting at age 60 everyone should have an annual, comprehensive, dilated eye examination. If you are African-American, the recommended age of having a dilated eye exam is 40 years old, because of the higher risk of glaucoma. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has specific recommendations for diabetic patients. It is recommended that Type 1 diabetics have their first eye exam within five years of diagnosis. Type 2 diabetics, should have their eye exam at the time of diagnosis. If you are a diabetic woman considering pregnancy, it is recommended to have an exam prior to conception or early in the first trimester. Summary As part of a comprehensive eye examination, pupil dilation is very important at revealing the status of your optic nerve and retina, and is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss.