• Was it correct to do a refractive test on my mother while her eyes were dilated?


    Question:

    I took my 90-year-old mother in for an eye exam. The technician dilated her eyes. I asked when they were going to do the refraction (test to determine if glasses are needed). The tech hadn't realized that they were going to do a refraction, but she went ahead and did it anyway. Now I wonder whether I should take her to another doctor for a non-dilated eye refraction. Does it make a difference?


    Answer:

    As you know, refractions are performed to determine the focusing error of any eye. Some refractions are performed without pupil dilatation and some are performed with pupil dilation. Depending on certain patient conditions we might perform the refraction both ways and compare the two measurements in order to provide the best eyeglasses prescription. You have not provided any historical information about your mother’s eyes, for example, has she had cataract surgery, does she have any medical conditions that might affect her eyes, and how well does she see with the old glasses or with the new glasses. Because of this, I think it best to suggest that you discuss this matter with her ophthalmologist.


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