Dr. Reckell describes why an eye doctor would want to dilate a patient's pupils.
When we are examining the back of the eye there are different ways to do this. When we look through the eye, here the pupil, at its normal size, when we look through with our handheld instruments we are looking to see the retina and, at best, with a normal sized pupil we will see maybe 50% of the structure. We want to see 100% for a thorough exam. There’s a couple of different ways to do that.
Here at our office we use our retina cameras and when we look through the pupil with the cameras that are hooked up to our computers we can see almost 80% as opposed to 50%, which is a much more thorough exam. But there are cases, that it’s very necessary to see 100%, this last little band, that last 20% that we can’t see with the retina camera and that’s when we dilate and we put an eye drop in that is absorbed superficially and it opens the pupil very large. It’s like looking into a room through a keyhole or opening the door and looking through the door to see the entire room.
So, if the pupil is not dilated or a retina camera is not used we are only getting a screening evaluation of the eye. When we use the retina camera and dilate then we are seeing 100% of the structures for a much more thorough exam.
It’s possible to miss one of the leaking blood vessels or clogged arteries from cholesterol or some swelling from diabetes that’s only in one little area that we are going to catch it very early. So for the most thorough exam, we want to catch things early. We can have intervention to start treating right away and to save people’s vision to keep them from any type of vision loss.
About Dr. Susan Reckell, O.D.:
Dr. Susan L. Reckell graduated from Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris University in 1984. She holds optometry licenses in Arizona and Michigan. With more than 23 year of experience, she currently works as an optometrist at Riviera Opticare Inc.