In the Healthbeat column in Iowa’s Quad City Times (1/8), Deirdre Cox Baker observed that having the eyes dilated as part of an eye examination is a “weird experience,” as well as a necessary one, because “glaucoma — one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States — can be caught if a doctor uses dilation to clearly see the retina, optic nerve, and vessels in the back of the eye.” While “glaucoma is not preventable…it can be controlled to some extent if detected early.” According to the American Optometric Association, “there are two types of glaucoma,” a “common kind” that “develops painlessly and gradually, typically without symptoms,” and another kind that comes on “rapidly,” with symptoms including “blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, colored rings around lights, and pain or redness in the eyes.”
Dilation of your eyes is a temporary inconvenience; however, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. DILATION IS THE STANDARD OF CARE TO ALLOW THOROUGH EVALUATION OF EYE TISSUE FOR A NUMBER OF EYE CONDITIONS. The use of dilation drops temporarily increases the size of your pupils, which allows us to accurately investigate the health of your eyes and many important aspects of your general health. The inconvenience of eye dilation drops will diminish gradually. It will typically take two to six hours for the effects to wear off. During this time, reading ability may be more difficult and your sensitivity to light may increase. For a short time, wearing sunglasses may be a necessary comfort. Notify staff if you feel your distance vision is excessively blurred before attempting to drive home. Thank you for your patience during this important procedure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience excessive pain, discomfort, or nausea.