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It’s true that having your eyes dilated during your routine eye exam can be a bit inconvenient. Not only does it take time, but once it’s over, you have to wear a pair of sunglasses in order to avoid that dreadful light sensitivity, and you may even have to organize transportation from a friend or family member. But dilating your eyes is one of the most important aspects of your eye exam, and wholly worth the trouble.

By using special eye drops to dilate your eyes, your optometrist has the ability to see not only the outer surface of the eye, but also through the pupil, to the retina, and all the way to the back of the eye. This makes for a much more thorough look at your overall health. Through this process, your optometrist can examine your optic nerve and blood vessels and discover issues such as retinal thinning, tears, or holes that can lead to retinal detachment or blindness. 

In addition to eye-related diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, dilation also enables your optometrist to detect the early warning signs of more general health issues, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

Despite the inconvenience, having your eyes dilated during your regularly scheduled eye exam is an important part of preventive health, for both your eyes and your whole body. Never skip out on having your eyes dilated—reserve the time, take your sunglasses, and schedule a ride home, and rest assured knowing you’re staying on top of preventative health measures that could make all the difference in your eye health and general health.

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