Of most of the medical exams we receive, the eye exam is often the least excruciating and the most predictable. It is rare that you walk into the eye doctor for an annual exam and walk out having something extracted or receiving a death sentence. However, the one uncomfortable part of the generally standard eye exams is dilating your eyes. The truth is, it is an annoyance, more than an uncomfortable aspect. Yet, at times, it is recommended. You may find it to be less of an annoyance if you understood why you may need to have your eyes dilated when you visit the optometrist.
Dilating Your Eyes Relaxes The Iris
The scientific answer to why you dilate your eye is that it relaxes your iris. This allows light to more clearly enter your eye and allows your optometrist to provide a more complete eye exam. The addition of light into your pupil allows the doctor to see the back of your eye, where many signs of ailments are found. Your eye can actually hold the answers to many ailments your body may experience, such as diabetes, tumors, high blood pressure, and, of course, eye ailments, such as retinal detachment and macular degeneration. While many of these ailments can also be detected by your physician during routine medical exams, eye exams allow early detection, potentially saving your life. This allows doctors more time to treat potentially fatal issues, such as tumors.
Dilating Eyes and Eye Issues
One of the most anticipated results of dilating the eye during an eye exam is the detection of eye issues or ailments. This type of closer eye exam allows your optometrist to search for warnings of cataracts or glaucoma, to name a few ailments. These conditions, when found early enough, are certainly treatable. In turn, this small bit of discomfort can end up saving your eye sight, allowing you to avoid being just a statistic of those who go blind from untreated glaucoma or even cataracts. Learning that you have a treatable eye condition is much more acceptable than learning that you are going to be blind in a matter of months.
Dilating Your Eyes Is Not For Every Appointment
In addition to being potentially lifesaving and sight-saving, there is good news about eye dilating. This slight discomfort associated with dilating your eyes is not necessary with every eye exam, at least until you are over age sixty. Of course there are exceptions. If you have a history of degenerative eye disease in your family, it may be recommended to dilate you eyes with every appointment prior to age sixty. Unless you already have a disease that can affect eye sight, such as diabetes, or you have a history of degenerative eye disease, you will likely not need to have your eyes dilated until you reach that magical age of sixty, when your body’s changes can begin to be seen in your eye.
To learn more about what to expect at your annual eye exam and what benefits can be attributed to eye dilating, contact the experts at Rittenhouse Eye Associates at (215) 525-6821.