Posted by: Mann Eye in Ask The Experts, Eye Health

Dr. David Tremblay

Why do my eyes need to be dilated during an eye exam?

Routine eye exams are extremely important to your overall health. During a routine eye exam at Mann Eye Institute, we perform a comprehensive examination of the eye and the area around the eye. As part of this exam, we recommend dilating the iris. Without dilation, we can’t examine the entire back portion of the eye.

Dilation of the iris allows for a complete view of the eye, specifically the lens and retina. It allows us to assess the level of progression on a cataract or clouding of the lens. Dilation also allows for a complete view of the retina, which is the critical structure that covers the back of the eye.

The health of the retina can be affected by common medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions can often cause vision loss, which may be treatable. More worrisome are other problems that can be hiding in the peripheral retina, such as retinal tears, retinal detachments and even tumors. Some tumors, such as melanoma, can be fatal and linger without symptoms. Dilation helps us see these issues and more!

Modern eye practices may have the technology to photograph the retina without dilation. This is okay in cases of routine exams. However, it is still important to dilate every few years as the photo may still miss parts of the retina.

Most people’s primary concern with dilation is that they are concerned about blurred vision and whether they will be able to drive afterward. Great news here! The vast majority of patients are able to drive after dilation with proper sunglasses. Near vision may be blurry temporarily, but typically the blur lasts only a few hours. There is even an eyedrop in clinical trials that can reverse the unwanted effects of dilation that may be available in the near future.

The experienced eye care providers at Mann Eye Institute can perform a comprehensive eye exam annually and help protect your sight. See us today to See Life Better.