Posted by: juliegriffey | February 23, 2015

Why does my doctor need to dilate my eye?

dilated-eyeDilating a patient’s eyes is an important part of an eye exam.   The drops used for dilation make a patient’s pupils widen and allow in more light to give the practitioner a better view of the back of your eye.  The downside of dilating a patient’s eyes is that it makes that patient more light sensitive until the pupils return to their normal size.  Therefore, many patients don’t relish the process of getting their eyes dilated.

So why do practitioners do it?  An exam of a dilated eye  can be lifesaving, as described in a recent story published in the Review of Optometry.  In the reported case study, a 43-year-old white male came in for his first eye exam because “something was off” with his vision.  The optometrist performed a routine exam which included dilating his eye to get a better look.  To her surprise, she found “an amelanotic melanoma taking up about 30% of the inside of his eye.”  Because this form of melanoma spreads so quickly and can be so deadly, the patient’s eye was removed 3 weeks after this first eye exam.

Many other diseases can be diagnosed in an eye exam when eyes are dilated, including diabetes, hypertension and multiple sclerosis.

So, patients, suck it up. Having your eyes dilated can save your life.

Doing a lot of dilating in your office? Amcon’s got you covered. Check out our line of dilation glasses and other post myds.


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