Dilated Retinal Examination: About This Test

Skip to the navigation

What is it?

Eyeball and optic nerve

A dilated retinal examination lets your doctor see the inside of the back of your eye.

To do the test, the doctor uses a light and a magnifying tool called an ophthalmoscope.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to look for eye problems and eye diseases. It also can be used to find other problems, such as head injuries or brain tumours.

It is usually part of a regular eye examination. You may also have a vision test and a test for glaucoma.

What happens during the test?

Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has glaucoma. And tell your doctor if you are allergic to any type of eyedrops.

Your doctor will use eyedrops to widen (dilate) your pupils. This makes it easier to see the back of the eye. Your doctor may also use eyedrops to numb the surface of your eyes. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to fully dilate the pupils.

The dilating eyedrops may make your eyes sting. They may also cause a medicine taste in your mouth.

When your pupils are dilated, your doctor will shine a bright light into your eyes and examine them.

What happens after the test?

  • Your vision will be blurry for several hours.
  • You will probably be able to go home or back to your usual activities right away. But your eyes will be sensitive. Wear sunglasses to protect them from the sun.
  • Do not drive for several hours after your eyes were dilated.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have questions about the test.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter A863 in the search box to learn more about "Dilated Retinal Examination: About This Test".

Current as of: March 3, 2017