Optometrists are eye care professionals who test and correct your vision and can diagnose, treat, and help manage any changes in your vision. As part of an eye exam, your optometrist will likely place medication drops into each eye to cause the pupils to dilate, or enlarge. A wide-open pupil allows your optometrist to better examine the inside of the eye.
Read on for more information about this intriguing process.
Eye Dilation is Not Harmful
Those cold drops of dilation drops may feel strange when they are placed in your eye, but they do not cause harm. Some people experience a slight sting. Dilation drops relax the eye muscles enough to widen the pupils. The effects of a relaxed eye, however, may make you see the world differently.
A relaxed eyeball struggles slightly to focus sharply on objects. Because the pupil is open, your surroundings will appear quite bright. Fortunately, pupil dilation only lasts a few hours. The strength of the medication may mean your pupils appear larger for only a couple of hours.
Eye Dilation Can Reveal Eye Problems
Once your optometrist has a magnified 3D view of the eye's interior, they will be able to find any signs of certain eye problems or diseases.
Glaucoma occurs when the optic vein connecting the eye to the brain is damaged. An optometrist can study the shape, color, depth, and size of this important nerve to determine whether you have glaucoma.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, or MAD, means you experience loss in the middle of your field of vision. Your optometrist can examine the retina for signs of irregularities like abnormal blood vessels or pigment changes that may indicate MAD.
The light-sensitive membrane at the back of your eye can sometimes detach partially or completely. A retinal detachment is serious and may lead to vision loss. Dilated pupils give your optometrist a clear view of your retina to determine the seriousness of the detachment and recommend immediate surgery if necessary.
Eye Dilation Recovery is Simple
After your eye exam is complete, you only need to wait for the medication to wear off. Your relaxed eye muscles and your vision will gradually return to normal. You should still take some precautions in the meantime. Because your vision is blurry, you should have someone else drive you home. Also, wear sunglasses to cut back on the amount of bright light that enters your pupils.
To learn more, contact an optometrist in your area.