Our doctors will dilate, or widen, your pupils during your eye exam to get a closer, clearer look at your optic nerve and retina. Pupil dilation helps us better identify and diagnose any potential eye conditions that could lead to vision loss, glaucoma, retinal damage, or other concerns.
Your eye doctor will dilate your pupils with dilating eye drops – they generally take about 10-20 minutes to start working.
Dilating the pupils with eye drops has the effect of temporarily increasing sensitivity to light and causing “blurry” vision at close distance. This effect can last up to 4-6 hours, so we recommend you bring sunglasses with you for when you’re ready to leave. You might also consider having a friend or family member drive you to and from your appointment, just to be on the safe side. If you do not have a pair of sunglasses, we can usually provide a disposable pair for you to use.
Dilation is painless, but a little disorienting. The benefits of being able to see more clearly and provide better care for your eyes, far outweigh the minor inconvenience.
Click here to hear more about the importance of the dilated eye exams from the National Eye Institute.