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Do I really need to get my eyes dilated?

I have avoided letting the doctor dilate my eyes in my annual exam for the past three years. The reason is that I can't go back to work with dilated eyes and be productive. What is the purpose of having the eyes dilated, and am I doing myself a disservice by refusing to let the doctor dilate? Has technology improved in other areas so that dilating is no longer an absolute necessity? I am worried that I let it go for so long.
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Answers (3)

  • walksonfloors


    Thanks for taking the time to ask and it is important to discuss this with your eye doctor. The value of dilating the eyes is the improved examination that your eye doctor is able to get due to the dilation. In general, he or she has a difficult job of examining the back of your eye due to the extremely small window that he or she is forced to look through. The dilation causes this window to open significantly, allowing for improved visualization of the back part of the eye. If you have had new or troublesome symptoms, or are going to see your eye doctor as part of diabetes management, for example, it may be imperative that your doctor examine the back of your eye. This part of the examination allows for earlier diagnosis and intervention of problems that may be happening or starting in this area. You should definitely speak with your doctor, however, as there are alternatives that may be appropriate or acceptable in your situation and with your level of risk and complexity. Each patient is different, and the absolute need for dilating your eyes may be different than for a different patient. Please speak with your doctor, and a phone call before hand may be appropriate.
  • Zoe


    When a doctor physically examines your eyes, they are looking not just at the outer surface, but at the inside health of the eye too. They do this by looking through the pupil, which is like a keyhole into the 'room' where the retina is. When the light shines into the eye, the pupil naturally shrinks smaller to protect the eye from what it perceives to be bright sunlight. By putting special eye drops into the eye, the doctor can make the pupil open wide, just as it does when we enter a darkened room. The doctor can see much more clearly to examine our inner eye through this wide opening, making the examination far more effective and thorough. Although having the pupils dilated is a time-consuming inconvenience, it is a necessary part of your preventative eyecare.
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  • walker


    Actually, whether the eye dilation in the eye exam is necessary depends on the reason for your exam, your age, your overall health and your risk of eye diseases.Eye dilation can make your vision blurry and your eyes more light sensitive, which, for a few hours, can affect your ability to drive or work. So if eye dilation is greatly inconvenient, ask your doctor about arranging another appointment. Alternatives to dilation are available, but they aren't as effective for allowing a careful examination of the back of your eye.