As an optometrist, I’m on the healthcare front lines in protecting your vision: a job I take very seriously. The eyes are not just windows to the soul – they also provide key information about a person’s health. In order to see your retina and optic nerve clearly, I often have to dilate your pupils during your annual comprehensive eye exam.

Some patients don’t like how it feels when their pupils are dilated – and I realize the blurry vision and light sensitivity are annoying. However, would you rather have a couple of hours of annoyance or potentially lose your vision? The following is just one recent example of why I insist on dilating your pupils.

A colleague of mine recently saw a 43-year-old patient for the first time. It was the patient’s first eye exam in his life. Upon dilating his pupils, she found a cancerous tumor across 30% of his eye. He was referred to a retinal specialist that same day, but unfortunately, the tumor was discovered too late, and the patient lost his eye.

This tragic outcome may have been prevented if the patient had undergone regular comprehensive eye exams, which include pupil dilation, in previous years.

A tumor is just one of the many serious health conditions I’ve diagnosed in more than 25 years of practicing optometry. By dilating your pupils, optometrists can detect a number of diseases and physical conditions, including:
– Glaucoma
– Cataracts
– High blood pressure
– Retinal tears or detachments
– Diabetes
– Macular degeneration
– Ocular tumors

Early detection is critically important. Caught early, most of these conditions can be treated and your vision can be saved.

The eye is the only place in the body where doctors can view a part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve. This enables us to make important diagnoses about health conditions that impact your eyes. It is crucial that I’m able to clearly see your retina and optic nerve, so that I can do my job and protect your vision.

I know some patients consider pupil dilation inconvenient, but the benefit of that small inconvenience far outweighs the risks of potentially permanent vision loss, wouldn’t you agree?

For 19 years, our optometry team at Ridgefield Vision Center has provided conscientious, personable vision care for adults and children in Richmond’s far West End, near Godwin High School and Short Pump Mall. We make going to the eye doctor a positive experience. Whether you need eyeglasses, sunglasses or contact lenses, we offer the highest quality products to ensure the health of your eyes so that you enjoy good vision in every season of life. We’ll continue to provide you with valuable information about the human eye and to provide the highest level of professional eye care for our patients’ vision health. Call us at 804-741-1204 and schedule your next appointment today!