Having an eye exam may not be your favorite thing to do, and for many, the least favorite part of the eye exam is when the doctor dilates your eyes. It may seem like an annoying inconvenience, and you may be wondering if it’s really necessary. Why does your eye doctor dilate your eyes, and should you have it done at every exam?
Why does your doctor dilate your eyes?
Your doctor will administer eye drops that will dilate your eyes – meaning that your pupil (the black dot in the center of your eye) will widen. This makes it easier for the eye doctor to see inside of your eye, so that he or she can check for problems such as age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. Dilated eyes also make it easier for your eye doctor to tell if other health problems you have might be affecting your eyes, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
You might not have to have your eyes dilated at each exam. If you would rather skip it, you should discuss this with your doctor.
There are several reasons why having your eyes dilated would be something you should do:
• You are age 40 or over. As we age the risk of eye disease increases.
• You have a history of health problems: certain health conditions can lead to serious eye problems.
• You have had problems with your eyes in the past. If you are coming in for a routine exam and don’t have any serious issues or concerns about your eyes, your doctor may say you don’t need this part of the exam.
Getting your eyes dilated may seem like just one more thing to do, and, true, it really isn’t much fun. However, it can be an integral part of an eye exam, especially if you have health problems or have had eye problems in the past. If you have any questions about the health of your eyes, or if it’s just time for an exam, call the Eye Care Institute. Call the office in Santa Rosa at (707) 546-9800 for an appointment today!