Open Your Eyes to the Importance of Dilated Pupil Exams
The ability to see is a gift that we often take for granted. Without it, our lives would change dramatically. That’s why it’s so important to take care of our eyes and have them checked with regular eye exams.
Dilating the pupil of the eye, part of a routine exam, is especially important. This gives the eye doctor a view of the retina, macula, and optic nerve inside the eye, which can help diagnose problems such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes). In many cases, early detection and treatment of these problems can help you avoid permanent damage to your eyesight.
What to Expect
In a dilated eye exam, a few drops are placed in each eye to widen the pupils. The doctor then examines the back of your eye by looking through a special magnifying lens. This enables him or her to identify any problems or early signs of disease—such as changes to the blood vessels—before you notice any changes in your vision. After the exam, your close-up vision may remain a little blurred for a few hours.
Crucial Care for Diabetics
People diagnosed with diabetes are at high risk for vision problems and need a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans with diabetes have some form of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. The good news is that finding and treating the problem early can prevent or delay blindness in 90 percent of cases.
Many people with diabetic retinopathy don’t realize they have the condition without an eye exam because it often doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages. However, if you experience any of the following warning signs, see your eye doctor right away:
• Blurred or double vision
• Pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
• Blank spots or flashing lights in your vision
• Rings around lights
• Spots that “float” in your vision
• Trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes
Bottom line? Don’t close your eyes to potential vision problems. Visit your eye doctor regularly for a dilated eye exam.