Why Do Eye Doctors Dilate Your Eyes?

It's one of the most memorable parts of the eye exam. The doctor puts drops in your eyes, and approximately 20 minutes later you're leaving with those flimsy plastic sunglasses. Your eyes are dilated, and they can't handle any semblance of light.

Of course, there's a reason why eye doctors do this. Eye dilation is an important part of the eye exam, and it allows the doctor to get a good look at the back of your eye. Here's a closer look at why eye doctors dilate your eyes and what they're looking for.

The Doctor Gets a Better View of Your Eye

When your eyes are dilated, your pupils are wide open. This gives the doctor a clear view of the back of your eye, which is important for checking the health of your retina and optic nerve.

The doctor can also look for signs of cataracts and other eye conditions this way. They'll also look for signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions that can show up in your eyes.

Dilating your eyes can also help the doctor figure out why you're experiencing certain symptoms, like vision loss.

It's Important for Children Too

You might not think that children need to have their eyes dilated, but it's actually important for them to have this done on a regular basis. That's because some eye conditions are easier to treat if they're caught early.

Dilating a child's eyes can also help the doctor spot problems with their vision that might not be apparent otherwise. This is especially important for children who have crossed eyes or are at risk for certain eye conditions.

Is There Any Other Way?

Some people might not like the idea of having their eyes dilated, but there isn't really any other way for the doctor to get a good look at the back of your eye.

There are new devices that can help doctors get a better view of the back of your eye without having to dilate them, but they're not perfect. They might not be able to pick up on some of the more subtle changes that can occur in your eyes.

So, if you're going to the eye doctor for a regular exam, you can expect to have your pupils dilated. It's not everyone's favorite, but it's important for keeping your eyes healthy. It's a better alternative to treatment for late-stage eye disease.