The answer is YES. If you have ever had an eye examination but never had your eyes dilated, you have not had a thorough eye exam. The eye exam is not complete until you get your eyes dilated.
Why is it this so important? So your doctor can get a good assessment of the inside of your eyes to determine if your eyes are healthy. Eye drops are placed in each of your eyes which allows your pupil (the black hole in the center of your eye) to open wider. Once the eye drops are instilled, it takes about 15-30 minutes for the drops to cause the pupils to expand.
Once you are completely dilated, the doctor uses a set of instruments with lights to look around inside your eyes. The internal lining of the eye called the retina is a critical tissue that contributes to your eyesight. The retina is also a part of the eye where diabetes, high blood pressure, AIDs, and many other medical conditions can have an effect. The retina and the other tissue inside the eyes are also carefully assessed by your doctor for holes, tears, or detachments.
Most people dread having their eyes dilated because they become light sensitive and the near vision is blurry for a few hours. Most often, patients can drive without assistance; however, if you feel uncomfortable driving, plan to have someone else with you on that day so they can drive for you. In either case, you will be provided some dark shades to wear until your eyes are comfortable in bright lights again. Having your eyes dilated is, by far, the most important part of your examination. It is the only way to know (for sure) that the inside of your eyes is healthy.
This article is intended to educate you so that you understand the purpose of dilation and to help you relieve your fears about the procedure. In spite of the minor side effects, you will know if you have healthy eyes.
If you do not have an eye care provider, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care for your next dilated eye examination.
321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic). For appointments, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com.