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Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Colchester Eye Care Dilated Eye Exam near you in Colchester, Connecticut

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.

What Are Dilated Eye Exams?

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina.

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula.

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases:

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial.

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later.

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal.

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches.

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call our optometry practice today!

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At what age should one have a dilated eye exam?

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam?

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding.

Cataracts

When looking at an object, light is received through the pupil. It is then focused onto the the back of the eye, where there is a collection of light sensitive cells called the retina. A cataract occurs when the eye’s normally clear lens becomes fogged up, making it hard or even impossible for light to travel properly through the lens and be clearly focused on the retina.

Cataracts are often considered a common part of aging. The lens, which is made of mostly water and protein, grows excess layers on its surface as the years go by. When these layers harden, protein in the lens may form clumps and become cloudy, forming a cataract. Although cataracts are usually considered an eye condition of old age, previous eye disease or eye surgery, chronic disease, diabetes, and eye injuries can bring on cataracts much earlier.

“Increased difficulty seeing at night or in dim lighting is another easily overlooked symptom. You should consult your eye care professional for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms and, if diagnosed, be sure to have regular check-ups thereafter.”, Dr. Wedeking, Hebron eye doctor.

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Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy natural lens and replacement of the natural lens with an artificial lens made of plastic, silicone or acrylic. The surgery is extremely low risk and is normally done as an outpatient procedure without overnight stay.
Treatment of a cataract varies. In cases in which clouding is minimal, vision is hardly affected and a slight change in eyeglasses prescription may be enough. Alternatively, if all or a large part of the lens is clouded, surgery is required to restore sight.
Proper pre- and post-op care are very important. Proper co-management means your optometrist and eye surgeon are on the same page when it comes to your treatment before, during and and after surgery.” A thorough exam should be conducted by your primary eye doctor to diagnose and decide on treatment of your cataract. After this your doctor should be able to advise about the surgery and refer you to a surgeon, who will answer any questions you have about the surgery. Afterwards, follow ups should take place with both your surgeon and your optometrist to assess your recovery.

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