What are Dilating Eye Drops?
These drops are used to dilate the pupils of the eye so that your ophthalmologist can clearly see inside your eye in detail. It allows the retina to be viewed more clearly.
Dilating drops work by:
By temporarily paralyzing the muscle that makes the pupil smaller; or
By stimulating the muscle that makes the iris (the colored part of the eye) widen
With your pupils dilated, your ophthalmologist can see the retina – the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, as well as the optic nerve, which sends signals from the retina to your brain where they are interpreted as images. Please, note that those drops will cause blurry vision from 2 to 8 hours. This may vary between different individuals.
Cycloplegic Refraction (using Atropine)
This is used to calculate the spectacle error in young individuals. Most children compensate for certain spectacle errors by focusing more than normal. In order to measure this error accurately, the action of the ciliary body in the eye must be paralysed temporarily. This is done by using dilating drops, known as Atropine.
Direction on how to instill drops
You will be required to purchase the drops at a pharmacy of your choice. Once received you will need to administer these drops for 3 days prior to your child’s next consultation.
One drop needs to be instilled into each eye (or as directed) twice daily.The drops used (Atropine) is a long acting dilating agent. Therefore most children will notice blur of their vision for the three days while using the drops and for three days after the drops are completed.
The dilated pupil also makes the child light sensitive. This will be present for the three days while the drops are being used, and will continue for up to fourteen days after the drops are stopped.