Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is regular eye exam so important to eye health?
Regardless of age or physical health, a regular eye exam is an important tool in detecting any eye problems at their early stages. Eye care providers such as optometrists and ophthalmologists can view the early signs of a stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and more, through an eye exam as they are able to view the arteries and veins without performing surgery. They can detect early signs of cataracts, vision loss, and many more eye conditions in order to help you see the world clearly.
2. What happens during an eye exam?
During an eye exam, your eye care professional will determine if you require a prescription for eye glasses and/or contact lenses, they will check your eyes for general eye health and diseases, assess how your eyes work together, and evaluate your eyes as indicators of your overall health.
3. When choosing an eye doctor, what is the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, and an optician?
Ophthalmologist: This specialty doctor is an M.D. with expertise and training in medical and surgical eye problems. They are trained to diagnose and manage all eye diseases. They perform operations on the eyes and also perform comprehensive eye exams.
Optometrist: This is a healthcare professional who has 4 years of training beyond bachelor’s degree. They are trained to provide primary eye care, prescribe and fit lenses to improve your vision and they also diagnose and treat certain eye diseases.
Optician: This is not an eye doctor, however, they are a specialized practitioner who designs, fits and dispense lenses for the correction of person’s vision. Optician’s use prescriptions that are written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist in order to fit and sell eyeglasses.
4. Why are my eyes dilated during an eye exam?
There are several reasons why your eyes need to be dilated. One of the most common reasons is to examine the back of the eyes. Pupil is the opening in the middle of the iris (color part of the eye). The function of the pupil is to control the amount of light entering the eye. It constricts in the bright light and dilates in the dim light. When your doctor shines the bright light to check the back of the eyes, your pupil constricts limiting the view of the back. In this case, your doctor use dilating eye drops to temporarily force the pupils to expand so they can check your eyes with a wider view.
You doctor may also use dilating drop to treat eye pain from spasm of the eye muscles during inflammatory eye conditions such as iritis or uveitis. Your doctor usually prescribes dilating drops (Cyclopentolate or Atropine) to relieve from eye muscle spasm and pain.
Dilating drops are also used to treat lazy eye (Amblyopia) in children. Better eye is made blurry using dilating drops (e.g. Atropine) and the weaker eye is forced to work. Eventually, the weaker eye becomes a good seeing eye.
5. Why is my vision blurry after dilation?
Ciliary muscle in the eye is responsible for accommodating the lens in the eye. Ciliary muscle increases or decreases the size of the lens to see clearly at distance and near respectively. Dilating drops temporarily deactivate the function of ciliary muscle interfering with the process of accommodation and your vision will be blurred.
6. How long does it take for the effects of dilation to wear off?
It depends on the type and the concentration of the drops used for dilation. Some eye drops are short acting and the effects usually last for 4-6 hours. Tropicamide or Phenylephrine are commonly used short acting eye drops at the eye doctor’s office. Atropine or cyclopentolate are considered to be long acting drops as their effects last from few hours to few days. The effects also last longer in the lighter eyes as opposed to the darker eyes.
7. Why are my eyes light sensitive after dilation?
Light sensitivity or photophobia is the result from the excessive light entering the eye because pupils are forced to dilate using dilating drops and which can not constrict to regulate the amount of light.