Should patients with severe glaucoma allow their eyes to be dilated during exam?
NOV 02, 2015
Should patients with severe glaucoma allow their eyes to be dilated during exam? Are there risks?
For patients with severe peripheral vision loss due to open angle glaucoma, there is absolutely no risk to being dilated for an exam. The issue with dilation only affects patients that have a variant of glaucoma called narrow angle glaucoma. Not only can dilating drops raise pressure in these patients by closing off the drainage angle of the eye, but even some medications such as decongestants and cold remedies come with warnings about glaucoma. If your narrow angle glaucoma poses such a risk, your ophthalmologist will usually perform a laser peripheral iridotomy, which makes a microscopic hole in the iris (colored part of the eye) so the pressure will not go up when the eye is dilated. Cataract surgery also “cures” this condition. In summary, your ophthalmologist will know whether your eye is safe to be dilated after the initial exam.