For many people, a standard eye exam is a suitable way to check for signs of ocular disease and changes in vision. However, older patients or those with chronic health conditions may need to have their pupils dilated so the eye doctor can get a better look. While the dilation process can create a few minor side effects, it is comfortably performed under the care of a trained specialist. Below, Polson Family Eyecare, the leading vision care provider in Lake County, MT, highlights a few steps in the process.
What to Expect During a Dilated Eye Exam
1. Eye Drops
Naturally, pupils will expand in the dark and contract in the light to control the amount of brightness the retina receives. This natural response can create problems for specialists when they shine a light into the eye to inspect it.
As such, vision care providers typically apply special eye drops to help the pupils expand and keep them open. About 15 minutes after the application, the drops will inhibit the muscles responsible for controlling pupil size.
2. In-Depth Examination
Once the pupils are fully dilated, your specialist will have a better view of your eye. Using standard examination tools and procedures, the doctor will assess hard-to-see components—such as the optic nerve, blood vessels, macula, and retina—of the eye.
This view can be critical in detecting a variety of ocular health problems, including macular degeneration and eye tumors. Blood vessel and nerve damage may also indicate the presence of an underlying health issue, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
3. Temporary Side Effects
The effects of the eye drops can take up to six hours to wear off, so it’s important to be prepared for potential side effects of pupil dilation. People commonly experience increased sensitivity to light, which can be helped using specialized covers or shades. Some may also find that the drops cause blurry sight. It’s a good idea to have someone come with you to a dilated eye exam so they can drive you home safely.
Although a dilated eye exam may pose a minor inconvenience to your day, the assessment can help catch problems early on and allow you to receive vision-saving treatment. Providing vision care to patients of all ages in the Lake County area, Polson Family Eyecare will assess your overall ocular health using comfortable and simple dilation techniques. Visit them online to learn more about their services or call (406) 883-4355 to schedule a convenient eye exam.