When you visit your optometrist they may dilate your pupils to help them complete your eye exam, but why do they do it? We answer your questions here.
Why does my optometrist dilate my pupils?
Not everyone needs to have their eyes dilated during an eye exam, but when they do it is to help them see right into the back of your eye. When you are in bright light your pupils get smaller, which can make it difficult for your optometrist to see into your eyes.
Part of your eye exam involves the optometrist shining a bright light into your eye, which will make your pupil contract even more, so they may dilate your pupils to counteract this and make your pupils larger.
By dilating your pupils your optometrist gets a good look at the retina, optic nerve and the blood vessels that are vital to the health of your eyes. Many diseases can be detected by looking at the back of your eyes, including hypertension, diabetes and glaucoma.
How are they dilated?
Your pupils will be dilated using eyedrops that force your pupils to stay dilated even in bright lights. It is completely harmless and no different to putting in standard eye drops at home.
Is pupil dilation safe?
Pupil dilation is perfectly safe, however it can cause your eyes to feel quite sensitive and focusing after your eye exam can be difficult. You should always bring a pair of sunglasses to your eye exam as your pupils will stay dilated for up to three hours, which can make them very sensitive to light when you go outside.
It is also recommended that you do not drive home from your optometrists appointment as your vision will be quite blurry. Either take public transport or arrange for someone to pick you up.
You should visit your Toowoomba optometrist at least every two years for a comprehensive eye exam.