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Dilation: An Important Part of Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

optometrist giving man an eye dilated eye exam in Redondo Beach, CA

If you've had eye exams in the past, you may have reflexively opted to skip the portion of the exam that includes pupil dilation. But the truth is that no one should consider this part of a comprehensive eye exam optional. Dilating the pupil is critical for helping your eye doctor get a good look at the inner components of the eye to catch diseases and disorders that require immediate attention. That's why our practitioners at Advanced Eye care Center, Dr. Hanson strongly urges our patients to get pupil dilation in the course of their eye and vision evaluations.

What is pupil dilation, and what does the process involve? You can think of the pupil of the eye as a window with an adjustable shade. Muscles in the pupil cause it to expand (dilate) or contract in response to light signals, thus making certain that the retina has neither too little nor too much light to work with. Our eye doctor can use a lighted instrument called a retinoscope to see right through the pupil to the back of the eye -- but only to the extent that the pupil allows. A constricted pupil gives us very little viewing area, making it impossible to see the optic nerve or more than a tiny retinal area. By dilating the pupil, a much larger area becomes visible for your evaluation.

Why is this so important? A variety of conditions can damage the optic nerve, the macula (the part of the retina responsible for central vision), and/or the many tiny blood vessels in the retina. These conditions include:

  • Glaucoma

  • Macular degeneration

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • High blood pressure

  • Retinal detachment

Unless we can actually view this damage in its earliest stages, it may go undetected for years. Even if you pass the other parts of your vision and eye exam with flying colors, the hidden damage can grow worse and worse until it reaches an advanced stage. Even children can benefit from eye dilation, since also helps us detect refractive errors that impair vision.

Pupil dilation is a simple process. Our eye doctor administers some eye drops that relax the pupil muscles and cause the eye to dilate after about 20 minutes. You'll experience blurred vision and light hypersensitivity for several hours afterward, but we can equip you with dark glasses to help you cope. Make sure you have arranged for someone to drive you home safely while your pupils are dilated.

Schedule an Eye Exam from Our Optometrist in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach

Now that you see the great value of including pupil dilation as part of your next routine eye exam, its time to take the next step by scheduling that comprehensive exam today. Contact Advanced Eyecare Center today for an appointment with our optometrist in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. We kindly ask you to mention whether or not you would like to de dilated during your appointment when scheduling.  It could make all the difference for your future ocular health!