Routine Dilated Fundus Examinations are very important to evaluate the health of your retina and the back of your eye. The Optometrist will decide if dilation is necessary based on the results of your exam, your age, your eye health and the risks of developing any eye diseases. For example, it is recommended for diabetics to have a dilation once a year but for someone with no prescription or eye health concerns, routine dilation may be recommended every 2-4 years.
Dilation drops enlarge the pupil to have a thorough look at the structures at the back of the eye. The main side effects include blur at near (depending on your spectacle prescription), some blur at distance as well as light sensitivity. Some people feel comfortable driving however if you are unsure, it is recommended to bring a driver or wait a few hours until you feel safe to drive. The effects of the drops usually last between 2-4 hours but can be longer depending on the person. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses!
When there is potential for a child to need a spectacle prescription, the Optometrist will usually give special drops that have similar effects to dilation drops, however these drops tend to last 8-24 hours and the child loses the ability to focus for up-close tasks. These drops are important to determine the exact spectacle prescription the child needs.