What to Expect When An Eye Doctor Dilates Your Eyes: Tips From Our Optometrist in Pelham

If you’ve never had your eyes dilated before during an eye exam, you probably don’t know exactly what to expect. Every person reacts a little differently, but you can generally expect certain things. If you have any questions, be sure to speak with your local optometrist nearest you.

Why Is Having Your Eye Dilated Necessary?

Your eye doctor near you dilates your eyes so that the pupils won’t contract when you look at bright lights. When your pupils are wide open (dilated), optometrists can use the light to look at the backs of your eyes. Pupil dilation is critical to preventing and treating eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss. Specifically, they want a close, clear look at your retinas, optic disks and blood vessels. 

What Happens During Pupil Dilation?

An eye doctor will put drops in your eyes. They might sting a little bit, but it’s nothing to worry about. In a few minutes, your eyes will absorb the drops and your pupils will become dilated and almost ready for the eye exam.

Many eye doctors wait about half an hour after dilating your eyes. Light-colored eyes (such as blue, green or hazel) will dilate faster than brown eyes. This ensures that the drops have taken full effect. 

While your eyes are dilated, your vision will be blurry; this is normal. When your eyes are dilated, they can’t automatically correct for poor vision. This ensures that, if you need corrective lenses, you get the right eyeglasses prescription.

The Procedure: What will my optometrist do during the exam? 

That depends on your individual circumstances. You might be asked to read lines of print. Our optometrist might try to test your near and far vision. Our doctor might shine light directly into each eye to examine the various parts. Whatever the case, you can expect slight discomfort, but no real pain. If you do experience pain, you should be sure to tell your eye doctor immediately.

Some patients are able to read large-print books after dilation. You might bring a book to read while you wait for the doctor to resume your exam, but don’t be surprised if you can’t read for a few – or several – hours after you leave the doctor’s office.

Tips To Follow Post Eye Exam With Pupil Dilation

When you’re finished and free to go, you may be extra sensitive to bright light. Be sure to bring on sunglasses. You might have to wear sunglasses even if it’s an overcast, cloudy day. If you didn’t bring your own, you may be able to get a disposable pair on your way out the door. Everyone reacts differently to the dilation and your eyes might be more sensitive than somebody else’s.

Don’t count on being able to focus or see much of anything for the first few hours after your dilated eye exam. For a few hours or longer after the exam, you can expect blurry vision and trouble focusing your eyes. This is normal following eye dilation. Find something to do that doesn’t require perfect vision. Take a nap (resting your eyes is a good idea anyway). Watch TV. Take a walk. Avoid dwelling on all the things that you can’t do right now, like read a book or finish your cross-stitch project.

It may not be safe to drive yourself after having your eyes dilated. Even though many people can see well enough to drive afterwards, it’s a good idea to make arrangements to have someone drive you after your appointment.

Most of these side effects will go away by the next morning. You should awaken with your regular vision – whatever that might be. Some people are still sensitive to light even a few days after the dilated eye exam, so if you are, be prepared to put on sunglasses again.

Call To Schedule Appointment With Our Eye Doctor

Overall, the procedure isn’t too bad. Our eye doctor can make sure that you have healthy eyes – or diagnose and treat problems that he or she finds during the exam. Call us today to book your next eye exam in Pelham, AL! Serving Alabaster, Hoover, Helena, and surrounding areas!

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