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This image shows an image of a retina with a multitude of diseases.

Why do you dilate patient’s eyes?

Part of every patients’ annual comprehensive eye and vision examination is checking the health of the back of the eyes. The retina’s job is to detect light and report that nerve signal to the brain in order for the brain to generate the perception of vision. The retina is a thin membrane that is vulnerable to many different eye diseases. Without having the eyes dilated and viewing the retinas, eye disease may go undiagnosed and lead to serious visual consequences including blindness.


What are the side effects of eye dilation?

The biggest side effects of having your eyes dilated is that you will have light sensitivity and blurred near vision for 2-4 hours after the procedure. Most patients are perfectly fine to return to work as long as they are not driving or using heavy machinery. If there is any concern with your ability to work or drive safely, you are welcome to return another time to have your eyes dilated.


Do you charge to performed a dilated retinal examination of a patient’s eyes?

If the eye dilation is part of a patient’s annual comprehensive eye and vision examination, we do not charge to dilate the eyes. If your visit is a medical visit rather than your annual eye check-up, we would bill either your medical insurance or the patient for that visit.


Can I return and have my eyes dilated another time?

If you are unable to stay at the time of your annual comprehensive eye and vision examination for your dilated retinal examination, you are welcomed to return within the next 30 days to have your eyes checked at no charge.


Can I drive with dilated eyes?

We recommend you bring a driver with you to your eye exam so that you don’t have to worry about driving with compromised vision.


Who do you recommend get their eyes dilated?

Our doctors generally dilate all new patients of all ages. Patients with a history of high myopia, diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, existing retinal disease, family history of retinal disease, history hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) use, or certain eye or vision symptoms, should have their eyes dilated at each year’s annual appointment.


What diseases do your eye doctors look for when viewing the retina in dilated eyes?

Through the dilated pupils, our eye doctors are better able to assess cataracts, optic nerve health (looking for signs of glaucoma or optic neuritis), macular health, blood vessel health, vitreous, and peripheral retinal health including looking for retinal holes, retinal tears, lattice degeneration, and retinal detachments.


Do I have to get my eyes dilated?

Our doctors highly recommend viewing the retinas through dilated pupils as doing so allows us to best manage your eye health. As vision is the most precious of our senses, we strongly recommend checking your eye health which is part of your annual comprehensive eye and vision examination. If you decline both OPTOS imaging, and having your eyes dilated, you are not allowing us to view your retina health. Patients of all ages can suffer from eye disease that can only be detected by viewing the structures at the back of the eyes. If you decline both OPTOS imaging and having your eyes dilated, we ask that you please complete a medical waiver stating that we educated you on the importance of checking your eye health and that you nevertheless declined this part of your eye exam.


Do you dilate children’s eyes?

Because eye disease can occur at any age, we do indeed dilate children’s eyes. The eye drops don’t hurt, and children typically tolerate the side effects very well. Sometimes a stronger dilating drop (a “cycloplegic” drop) is used to better assess the glasses prescription of younger patients. We use these cycloplegic drops in patients aged 6 months to about 10 years. The blurred vision and light sensitivity that result from these cycloplegic drops can last as long as 24 hours. While the side effects are noticed for a longer period of time, the benefits of being able to accurately determine a child’s glasses prescription, and the ability to check the health of the back of their eyes, make this procedure well worth the minor inconvenience.


Can I do OPTOS imaging instead of having my eyes dilated?

OPTOS imaging is a great way to view the back of the eyes. It provides our doctors with a panoramic view of your retinas known as an “optomap®.” To be thorough, we recommend that patients have both optomap® imaging of their retinas, as well as a through, dilated eye examination. The optomap® gives our doctors detail and allows us to accurately record the appearance of any retinal findings, though actually dilating the eyes gives our doctors stereoscopic views, better color accuracy, and a larger view area of the retina. We regard OPTOS as the next best thing to having your eye dilated, but OPTOS is not a substitution for a dilated retinal examination.


Can I have my eyes dilated if I am pregnant?

If there is a pressing need to view the retinas in a patient that is expecting, we will absolutely dilate your eyes. However, in the absence of high risk factors and symptoms, we recommend that expecting mothers sit for OPTOS imaging while they are pregnant rather than have their eyes dilated. They are encouraged to return for their dilated fundus examinations after delivering their child.


Which patients are most at risk for retinal disease?

Patients with high myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, family history of retinal disease, patients using certain systemic medications, and patients with a history of trauma. While these are indeed risk factors, it is important to note that any patient of any age can suffer retinal disease that is always better treated when identified early.


Please call us today at (303) 450-2020 to schedule your annual comprehensive eye and vision examination, or use the button below to schedule your exam online:

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Vista Eye Care

13695 Colorado Blvd. Thornton, CO 80602
Phone: (303) 450-2020
Fax: (303) 920-1440

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