Dilated eye exams allow your doctor to view hard to see areas at the back of your eye, known as the retina. Using eye drops to dilate your pupils, your doctor can view features that will reveal your current vision health. The exam is typically done in conjunction with your regular eye exam check up.
It can take up 15 to 20 minutes for the pupils to fully dilate. The eye drops may sting and generate a medicinal taste in your mouth. After the pupils have been given time to dilate, your doctor will use a bright light to look far into your eyes and assess them. During the exam, your doctor is looking for very specific things:
- Optic nerve fibers: dilation allows your doctor to see the full scope of your optic nerve fibers. They will be watching for things like color, shape, and how the nerve fibers intertwine between the eye and the brain.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD can develop into a severe eye condition if left unattended. Your doctor is looking for yellow deposits near the retina and pigmentation clumps below the retina.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of blindness in the United States. The dilated eye examination allows your doctor to watch for signs of abnormal blood vessel growth and blood vessels in the retina that are leaking.
- Other issues: dilated eye exams allow your doctor to spot symptoms of brain tumors or head injuries.
After the test is complete, you may experience blurred vision for a few hours. Most people can go back to their normal routine, but your eyes will be sensitive. To protect your eyes from the sun and other strong light sources, wear sunglasses. It is not wise to drive immediately after your eyes have been dilated so consider having someone drive you home.
If you have any questions or concerns about your eye health, don’t hesitate to call Aker Kasten Eye Center to schedule an eye exam. You can reach us at (561) 338-7722. Let us help you achieve healthier eyesight today.