Back to the articles

How long does the dilation of eyes last?

Eye Wellness

How long does the dilation of eyes last?

Any comprehensive eye checkup will include tests like visual field testing and dilating your eyes, but how long does eye dilation last? It can take 20 to 30 minutes after your doctor injects the dilating drops for your pupils to open fully. Most people experience the effects four to six hours after dilation. Each individual responds to dilating drops differently.

People with lighter-colored eyes, for example, may experience the effects of dilating drops for a longer time. Children's dilating can continue for up to a full day following the assessment.

Eye dilation exam: how does it work

Eye dilation exams are the best way to gauge your overall eye health. You may experience some discomfort during the dilation test, such as stinging eyes or a medicine taste in your mouth. Your ophthalmologist will shine a bright light into your eyes to see the retina and optic nerve. They will ask you to look up, down, left, and right during the examination to get a 360-degree view.

The cost of the eye exam will depend on the type of insurance you have and where you have the tests performed.

Common side effects of eye dilation

What are some of the most common side effects of eye dilation tests? A dilation test has short-term effects while it is long-term safe. The typical duration of these is four to six hours. Here is a list of some of the side effects of dilatation:

  • light sensitivity
  • eyes blurry
  • difficulty focusing on close things
  • stinging immediately following the application of the drops
  • headache after eye dilation
  • discomfort or slight eye pain after dilation

You might not be able to put on your contact lenses until the dilation drops stop working. Your optometrist can't predict your reaction to the dilatation process. Proceed with caution if you experience any of the above symptoms.

What not to do after eye dilation

To help protect your eyes after eye dilation, you should take special precautions to avoid eye strain or exposure to UV rays. Here are some helpful tips to protect your eyes after an eye dilation: To help protect your eyes after eye dilation, you should take special precautions to avoid eye strain or exposure to UV rays. Here are some helpful tips to protect your eyes after an eye dilation:

  • Stay out of the sun: Direct sun exposure can harm your eyes, so avoid spending time in the sun. After dilatation, it is much more crucial to keep this in mind. To reduce the likelihood of UV damage, your pupils will often reflexively constrict (become smaller) in sunlight. However, following a dilated eye exam, your eyes can't use this built-in protection mechanism. You will need a pair of sunglasses after the pupil dilation test.
  • Avoid staring at digital screens for long periods. Blue light emission can cause digital eye strain. Limit your screen time and blue light exposure until your pupils return to normal following dilation to prevent discomfort.
  • Avoid attempting to read small print after eye dilating because your vision will be hazy. While reading small print in a book or on your phone is doable, the inability to see well at this time may result in eye strain, weariness, and headaches.

Can you drive after eye dilation?

After eye dilation, it is not safe for you to drive. Arrange to get picked up if you are having your eyes dilated.

How to make eye dilation go away faster

Is there a way to make eye dilation go away faster? It can take four to six hours after the peak of your pupil dilation for your pupils to shrink back to their regular size. Although specialized eye drops exist, eye doctors advise not to use them. Making every effort to reduce the time your pupils remain dilated by using the above tips is the healthiest option.

A dilated eye exam is the best thing you can do for your eye health! It’s the only way to check for eye diseases early on, before they cause vision loss. The exam is simple and basically pain-free, and in no time, your vision will return to normal.

How often should you get an eye exam like the eye dilation exam? It depends on your age and other circumstances that might predispose you to certain eye health conditions. Consult your eye doctor to determine what is best for you.