I dilate most everybody’s eyes during an eye examination. If you have any health conditions such as diabetes, are taking certain medication, or have cataracts I will dilate your eyes more often.
Through a dilated pupil I can see more eye structures. I will use diagnostic lights and lenses that provide a 3 dimensional view of the inside of the eye. If there is a retinal hole, a lesion or fluid, it is much easier to detect through a dilated pupil. If I look through a keyhole, I can see part of the room, if I open the door, I can see everything.
Dilation requires drops in the eye. The effect usually lasts 3-4 hours. Most people notice an increased sensitivity to lights because the pupil is larger. I recommend bringing sunglasses to your appointment. If you think driving may be a problem, arrange for a driver. The drops can also cause a cycloplegic effect, which means focusing on objects up close will be difficult. Try to plan your schedule accordingly. Don’t plan on doing computer work or other close tasks immediately after being dilated.
This is the view of a normal retina looking through a dilated pupil. The optic nerve is the whitish circle on the left, it provides an entrance point to the eye for the blood vessels and an exit pathway for the nerve fibers carrying input to the brain. The 130 million photoreceptors (rods and cones) covering the retina, which appears as an orange background, receive all visual images and send these signals to the brain where the vision process occurs. When you have your eyes dilated at Westside Optometry we will take a similar picture of your eye. Don’t let me forget to show it to you.