What to Expect When An Eye Doctor Dilates Your Eyes

What to Expect When An Eye Doctor Dilates Your Eyes | By: VAL-Uvision Jacksonville FL

If you’ve never had your eyes dilated before during an eye exam, you probably don’t know exactly what to expect. Every patient reacts a little differently, but you can generally expect a few things to occur during your next eye test.

Do you need to have your eyes dilated?

During an eye examination test, an optometrist dilates your eyes so that the pupils won’t contract when you look at bright lights. When your pupils are dilated, your optometrist can use the light to look at the back of your eyes. Specifically, they want a close, clear look at your retinas, optic disks and blood vessels. 

Eye dilation allows eye doctors to diagnose common diseases and conditions, such as Diabetes, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma.

However, your local eye doctor may perform an eye exam without dilation using state-of-the-art technology (Optomap, for example). Contact local eye doctors near your area to see if they offer eye exam without dilation. 

What happens when you have your eyes dilated

Eye examination procedure: What will my eye doctor do during the exam? 

That depends on your individual circumstances. Several different eye tests may be performed during the eye exam, including color vision test, visual acuity test, slit lamp and more. 

Your eye doctor will measure your visual acuity to see if you need glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.  You might be asked to read lines of print. Your optometrist might try to test your near and far vision. Our doctor might shine light directly into each eye to examine the various parts. 

What happens when you have your eyes dilated?

Your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes. They might sting a little bit, but it’s nothing to worry about. Many patients agree that this is no worse than rinsing your eyes with saline solution. In a few minutes, your eyes will absorb the drops and your pupils will start to dilate. It usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your pupils to fully open. Many eye doctors wait about half an hour after dilating your eyes. This ensures that the drops have taken full effect. 

You might not be able to see clearly or focus on anything; this is normal. 

After Your Eye Exam: What To Expect After Pupil Dilation 

When you’re finished and free to go, be sure to put on sunglasses. Because your pupils are still dilated, they’re still very sensitive to light – especially sunlight. 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. If you’ve never had this exam before, you should have somebody else drive. Even though many people can see well enough to drive afterward, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.

Use your best judgment when caring for an eye emergency and seek professional help.

How long for dilated eyes to return to normal?

  • You can expect blurry vision and trouble focusing your eyes for a few hours, about 4-6 hours after the eye exam. 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.

Most of these side effects will go away by the next morning. However, some patients are still sensitive to light even a few days after the dilated eye exam, so don’t worry if your eyes are still dilated the next day. 

Call To Schedule Appointment With Our Eye Doctors At VAL-Uvision!

If you have any questions about pupil dilation or to book an eye exam at one of our Jax locations, contact us today! 

VAL-Uvision has two locations in Jacksonville FL. Please call one of our 2 optometry offices nearest you today to learn more about our eye care services.

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