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What is Dilation and Why do you Need it?

Patients are usually familiar with the concept of having their eyes dilated but what is dilation and why do you need it? The risk of eye disease increases with age and many conditions develop gradually with no initial symptoms. By having an annual comprehensive eye exam with Skyline Vision Clinic that includes dilation, you allow the ophthalmologist a larger window into the inside of your eyes to evaluate your eye health which may lead to discovering warning signs necessary to prevent vision loss. 

Eye dilation is the process of using special eye drops to purposefully increase the size of the pupil to examine the health of the retina. Typically, the pupil of the eye shrinks when light enters through it. Pupil dilation opens the center of the iris to make it bigger allowing more light to shine through the front of the eye to better see the back of the eye. Interestingly, the eye is the only place where the doctor can see part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve. Without a dilated eye exam, view of the back of the eye is limited, only allowing the eye doctor a partial view to see the optic nerve and the macula; by dilating the pupils, the scope of the entire retina is visible to the doctor. Pupils generally take 15-30 minutes to dilate for the exam and can take up to 4-6 hours to return to normal size. Light sensitivity is common, so patients are advised to wear sunglasses after their appointment. 

The main benefit of eye dilation is to diagnose or rule out certain eye conditions or diseases including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, ocular tumors or retinal tears or detachments. Your eye health is a good indicator of your overall health. It is not uncommon for an ophthalmologist to diagnose a health concern in another part of the body based on an eye exam. In fact, in many cases, diabetes is detected through a routine eye exam. Hypertension is another medical condition that puts strain on all the blood vessels in the body, including those in the eyes. A dilated eye exam can show if there is bleeding from the blood vessels in the eye that may cause swelling and eventually blurred vision. 

With these facts in mind, eye dilation is an important component of your time at the ophthalmologist’s office. At Skyline Vision Clinic, we value the health of your vision and want to offer you every opportunity to be evaluated in an effort to prevent, diagnose, and treat any and all variables affecting the quality of your eyesight. For an appointment, call 719-630-3937 or visit WEBSITE.