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Why does my eye exam take so much time?

A. If your eye exam is taking more than an hour, you’re most likely having a dilated eye exam. During your dilated eye exam, both of your eyes will be inspected for any signs of vision problems and/or eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and cataracts. The dilated eye exam is a very important part of preventive eye care.

In order to dilate your eyes, we use special drops. The dilation eye drops may take approximately 15-30 minutes to begin working. However, if a patient has a serious eye disease, such as glaucoma, and is taking medication, their eyes may take up to an hour to dilate. Once your pupils are dilated, your eye doctor will then look in with a bright light and use special instruments to see various parts of the eye. You’ll be asked to look up, down, left and right while the exam is being performed. This allows your eye doctor to see completely inside your eye including the macula, retina, blood vessels and optic nerve.

We recommend patients plan to spend 2 hours at our practice for a dilated eye exam. Whether you need to have a dilated eye exam depends on your age and your health. We recommend most adults have a dilated eye exam every year. If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to have an annual dilated exam.