A Better View

When my sister was in elementary school, she started always sitting in the front row of desks at school. One of her teachers noticed this habit and arranged a meeting with my parents. This caring teacher told my parents that she thought my sister needed glasses. When my sister visited an optometrist, this professional diagnosed her with a severe case of astigmatism. He also informed my parents that she was nearsighted as well. Due to her eye issues, my sister had to start wearing glasses all of the time. Her new glasses helped her tremendously in school. She no longer had to sit in the front of the classroom in order to view the notes placed on the board. On this blog, you will discover the importance of getting your kids’ eyes checked by an optometrist before enrolling them in school.

FAQs About The Dilated Eye Exam


Why does the optometrist dilate your eyes during a vision exam? If you've always wondered about this step of an eye exam, take a look at what you need to know about the dilation process.

What Is Dilation?   

Before you can understand why you need this type of exam, you may need to learn more about dilation. Dilation refers to increasing the size of the pupils. The pupils are the center, round, dark parts of your eyes. The iris (colored part of the eye) controls the movement of the pupils, making them smaller or larger in response to light.

Bright lights cause the pupil to constrict—or get smaller. Your pupil expands (or dilates) in low light. These changes allow you to see more clearly and comfortably in different ranges of indoor and outdoor light. 

Even though dilation happens as a natural response to low light, it won't necessarily happen during your vision exam—especially if the optometrist or doctor shines a bright light in or near your eye. This means you will need special drops to dilate your eyes. These drops make the pupils larger. 

Why Do You Need Eye Dilation During An Exam?

More specifically, why would an eye doctor need to make your pupils larger? Unlike natural dilation, the dilation during the eye exam doesn't happen to help you see in low or lower light. Instead, it helps the doctor to see the inside of your eye. While the exam will include a vision test and inspection of the visible structures of the eye, it will also include a look inside. 

A dilated pupil provides a space large enough for the doctor to check for common eye issues and conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (if you have diabetes), cataracts, and macular degeneration. It is also possible to see injuries, such as retinal tears, during a dilated exam. 

Do You Always Need A Dilated Exam?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. If you haven't had an exam (dilated or not) in several years, it's likely that the doctor will recommend this type of check-up. Other factors that may determine whether you need dilation during an exam include your age, ethnic background, overall eye health, and the reason for the exam, according to the Mayo Clinic

Will Your Pupils Stay Open After the Exam?

Your pupils are always open. But they're extra-wide after this type of exam. While they won't immediately return to the normal size, your pupils will constrict over the next few hours. Your eyes may feel sensitive or you may have blurry vision during this time. This may make it difficult to read, look at an electronic device, or drive. Sunglasses can help to reduce the after-effects of dilation and decrease sensitivity to light. 


3 February 2023