How to Solve Issues with Dilating Eye Drops

How to Solve Issues with Dilating Eye Drops

Jan 01, 2022

Dilating eye drops expand the pupil of an eye. Eye dilation allows the doctors to view our retina, iris, optic nerve, and the space between the iris and the lens. The procedure allows for correct and speedy diagnosis of eye conditions.

Some commonly used eye drops include cyclopentolate, phenylephrine, and tropicamide. The doctor inputs one or two drops in each eye and waits for the pupils to dilate.

In most people, eyes remain dilated for about five hours. The doctor conducts an eye examination after 30 minutes so that the pupil dilates enough. Even though dilating eye drops are beneficial, they are not without their complexities.

Different people react differently to eye drops. Also, the effects do not wear off within a fixed time. Unbeknown to many people, actual dilation does not cause discomfort. The eye drops will cause some sensitivity to lights.

Once you visit an emergency eye clinic near you, your doctor gives you instructions on caring for your eyes until the effects of dilation are over. The procedure may be conducted independently or as a comprehensive eye examination. If you require eye dilation, visit an optometrist near you, such as Dr. Allyson Tang Optometrist – Scarborough.

How to use dilating eye drops to solve eye problems

Since the eye drops help enlarge the pupil, it allows the doctor to critically examine your eye’s structure. The doctor can therefore diagnose different eye problems. The optometrist cannot observe anything inside the eye by shining a light into it since the pupil is tiny.

The optometrist can detect whether you have several eye conditions via dilating eye drops. The conditions include:

  • Retinal detachment – is a condition where the retina pulls away from the blood vessels, leading to vision loss.
  • Macular degeneration – involves damage in the macula element of the retina, which can lead to vision loss. Vision loss via macular degeneration is irreversible.
  • High blood pressure – causes the retinal blood vessels to get damaged. Dilating eye drops can help to diagnose the problem.
  • Diabetes – patients are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. It mainly affects the blood vessels connected to the retina.
  • Glaucoma – can develop, causing damage to the optic nerve. Optic nerve damage usually occurs when the eye pressure is high.
  • Refractive error – Dilating eye drops relax the eye’s focusing muscles, thus enabling the doctor to check whether your child’s eyes need glasses effectively. It’s therefore critical in optimizing children’s eye health.


In some instances, dilating eye drops treat certain eye conditions. They are used to treat amblyopia, inflammation of the eye, and progressive nearsightedness.

Factors to consider when using dilating eye drops

Since eye conditions vary widely across different patients, the factors needed to undergo eye dilation vary. They include:

  • Eye health
  • The primary reason for eye evaluation
  • Age
  • Overall health

Side effects of dilation eye drops

The use of dilating eye drops has minimal side effects. They include light sensitivity and blurry vision. These effects generally last for 4–6 hours only. Notably, the patient may not feel comfortable driving immediately after the procedure. It is therefore advisable you have company during your eye appointment.

The side effects generally disappear after a few hours when the pupil regains its original shape and size. Other less severe side effects include rapid pulse, dry mouth, and facial flushing.

How to manage dilation eye drop effects

Since eye drops cause side effects after administration, some recommended measures minimize their severity.

  • Rest your eyes by avoiding any involving near activity for the rest of the day.
  • Dim or do not put on lights in your home.
  • Put on sunglasses when stepping out, especially after receiving the droplets.
  • Avoid driving after the doctor administers eye drops.


Besides helping doctors diagnose and treat certain eye conditions, eye dilation helps the doctors identify existing eye diseases. When used in comprehensive eye examinations, dilating eye drops help early detection and avoidance of eye diseases.

If you require eye procedures, visit or book an appointment with Dr. Allyson Tang Optometrist, a skilled eye doctor in Scarborough. She conducts comprehensive eye exams annually via the use of eye drops.

Call Now Book Now