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Why your eye doctor dilates your eyes.

The windows to your soul are a very complex part of your body. To be fair, most of your body is very complex, but your eyes give you one of your most important senses – sight.

We quite literally view the world differently from each other. While those of us with healthy eyes perceive colors similarly, we all have a different balance of rod and cone cells within our eyes that change how we see the world. (It’s a different story for people who experience color blindness).

When you attend your yearly or bi-yearly eye appointment, you allow your optometrist to not only check your perceived vision (called refraction) and write you a prescription if needed, but you also allow them to check the physiological function of your eyes.

You may have seen an image like the one below hanging in your eye doctor’s office before.

Each part of your eye has a different function, and each part of your eye can affect your vision.

Believe it or not, not everybody loves to be dilated. It can be uncomfortable for some and may even cause blurred vision until the dilation drop wears off. However, when you’re dilated, your eye doctor is given a glimpse into the health of your vision. Your optometrist may not be able to see every physical structure within your eyeballs without specialized equipment and surgery, so they rely on dilation to see within the eye.

The pupil is truly the window to your soul as it is the part of your eye responsible for letting light in. It is the opening that can give your doctor a better view of your world.

When you come into contact with bright light, your pupils constrict (or get smaller) to control the amount of light entering your eye. When you enter situations of low light, your pupils dilate (or get larger) to allow more light to enter your eye to allow you to see. If light cannot fall on the cells in the back of your eye, you will not be able to see.

Both fortunately for your body and unfortunately for your doctor, if they try to get a good look into your eye with a light, your pupil constricts too much to allow them to see in. Dilation drops stop the muscles in your pupil from flexing, forcing your eyes to not dilate so he can see the inner structures of the eye.

So what are you to do if you hate having your eyes dilated? Find an eye doctor who uses technology that allows him to check your eyes. At Invision Eyecare, we use two specialized machines to check your eye without dilation drops.

Our retinal scan and OCT provides a better field of vision into the eye than using a normal scope and dilation drop.

The Optos retinal scan gives our doctor a field view of 200 degrees of your retina all at once. That’s 135 degrees more than with the traditional slit lamp! This can not only help your doctor see more of your eye all at once, but also allow them to see the whole body of a point of medical importance if there is something present.

With the Optos retinal scan, you can see medical issues happening in the eye all at once. Like in this image.

Now, if a larger medical issue within the eye is seen, the OCT (or ocular computed tomography scan) can be used to look at the individual cell layers within the eye to see exactly what is going on and where it is happening.

For most patients without underlying health conditions, these machines can be used instead of dilation to view the health of your eyes. However, if you have other health conditions, your doctor may deem it necessary to dilate your eyes.

If you’d like to have an exam without dilating your eyes, give us a call or text, and we’ll see what we can do for you!


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