Dilated Eye Exams and Retinal Health

by Mar 18, 2020

There is much more to an eye exam than determining a prescription and treating vision problems.  Optometrists are trained to thoroughly evaluate the health of the entire eye, including the front surface, the back lining, and all internal structures.  This allows optometrists to detect ocular conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration. They can also determine if general health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are affecting the health of your eyes.  Many times, changes to the health of the eye can occur without any pain or symptoms, so regular eye exams are important to monitor the health of your eyes and prevent damage from silent ocular health conditions.  


What is a Retinal Health Evaluation?

When light enters the eye, it forms an image on an important tissue known as the retina.  The retina lines the back wall of the eyeball and plays a vital role in healthy eyes and vision by gathering visual information and relaying it to the brain.  The retina is not easily seen, and it cannot be viewed by looking at the outside of your eye. Instead, in order to examine your retina, your eye doctor must look through your pupil and use a strong microscope and special lenses.  

In some cases, the doctor can look through your small pupil, without instilling dilating eye drops, and see a small area of the retina.  If your doctor chooses to use dilating eye drops, which make your pupils large for several hours, he or she will be able to see a much wider area of your retina.  While the side effects of dilating drops include light sensitivity, blurred vision, and short-term stinging, they are safe medications that allow the doctor to more thoroughly view the back of the eye. 

Many people choose to utilize new technologies in order to assess the retina.  There are several different machines that can take pictures of the retina, even without the use of dilating drops, to give your doctor a photograph of your retina.  This allows your optometrist to thoroughly look at your retinal health, and the photos can be saved so your doctor can use it to monitor for future health changes. 

If you are unsure which method of retinal health evaluation is best for you, talk to your eye doctor.  They can give an appropriate recommendation based on your risk factors, existing conditions, or any symptoms you may be experiencing. 


Dilated Eye Exams Are Important

A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.  Because many of the conditions that effect the retina have little to no symptoms, it is important to have a retinal health evaluation annually.  That way, your doctor can evaluate for silent eye conditions, such as glaucoma, and promptly initiate treatment if needed. The retina is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be directly and non-invasively seen, so it also provides doctors with lots of information on general health.  Retinal health evaluations are particularly important in patients with vascular conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, as these diseases can damage the retinal blood vessels and lead to permanent vision loss if not properly addressed.   

At EyeDocs Family Eye Care, you will recieve only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctor in Brookville, Ohio.  Call us at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online with Dr.Kyle Maxam or Dr. Kara Wampler for your eye exam with a Brookville eye doctor. The next time you need an evaluation for dilated eye exams or for your retinal health, be sure to come to EyeDocs where we always put the care of you and your family first with our eye care in Brookville, OH.

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