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Don't Want Your Eyes Dilated? Here Is Why You Should

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Sometimes having your eyes dilated can be uncomfortable, and it may make it more difficult to drive home after an eye exam. The truth is, dilating your eyes is the only way for your eye doctor to recognize certain problems and issues that could rob you of sight if left untreated. When dilated, it is easier to see the retina, macula, and optic nerve in the back of your eye.  

Thinking of skipping dilation at your next eye doctor appointment? Here are some reasons to reconsider: 

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters could be a sign of retinal detachment, which is only positively diagnosed during dilation as your eye doctor needs a good view of the retina in the back of the eye. Floaters occur when you see small dark bits swimming around in your field of vision. Eye floaters are permanent, but you may notice them less during treatment.  

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you are diabetic or at risk for diabetes, you need to have your eyes dilated to detect signs of diabetic retinopathy. This is a serious condition that can lead to blindness as the blood vessels in your retina expand and leak.  


Glaucoma is a condition that impacts the optic nerve, and if left untreated, can lead to loss of sight. Glaucoma occurs when your eye pressure becomes too high, and over time, this can damage the optic nerve and deteriorate your vision.  

Macular Degeneration

As you get older, protein can accumulate and cause problems with the macula of the eye, resulting in macular degeneration. Therefore, eye care experts suggest that people over age 50 see their eye doctor for an exam and dilation each year.  


A cataract may manifest in blurry or cloudy vision, and it is in fact a clouding of the lens of the eye. This condition is treatable through outpatient surgery but must be diagnosed by dilating the eyes during an eye care appointment.   

Retinal Issues

There are a number of issues that can afflict the retina and eye dilation is the only way to diagnose and determine the root of the problem. Those experiencing eye pain often have something wrong with their retina, including a tear in the retina, retinal detachment, or a tumor. Schedule an exam with a dilation expert to find out more.  

Make sure that you stay safe after having your eyes dilated at the exam and wait until you can see fine before driving home. Since it is the glare of the sun that causes difficulty for dilated eyes, bring some sunglasses or arrange for a driver. The effects typically wear off within a few hours. Dilation of your eyes is an important part of maintaining eye health and preserving your vision across the lifespan. Reach out to an eye doctor near you to learn more.