ZocdocAnswersDo I really need to get my eyes dilated?

Question

Do I really need to get my eyes dilated?

I have avoided letting the doctor dilate my eyes in my annual exam for the past three years. The reason is that I can't go back to work with dilated eyes and be productive. What is the purpose of having the eyes dilated, and am I doing myself a disservice by refusing to let the doctor dilate? Has technology improved in other areas so that dilating is no longer an absolute necessity? I am worried that I let it go for so long.

Answer

Thanks for taking the time to ask and it is important to discuss this with your eye doctor. The value of dilating the eyes is the improved examination that your eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) is able to get due to the dilation. In general, he or she has a difficult job of examining the back of your eye due to the extremely small window that he or she is forced to look through. The dilation causes this window to open significantly, allowing for improved visualization of the back part of the eye. If you have had new or troublesome symptoms, or are going to see your eye doctor as part of diabetes management, for example, it may be imperative that your doctor examine the back of your eye. This part of the examination allows for earlier diagnosis and intervention of problems that may be happening or starting in this area. You should definitely speak with your doctor, however, as there are alternatives that may be appropriate or acceptable in your situation and with your level of risk and complexity. Each patient is different, and the absolute need for dilating your eyes may be different than for a different patient. Please speak with your doctor, and a phone call before hand may be appropriate.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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