Dilated Fundus Examinations (DFE)

Dilated fundus examinations involved inserting a pharmacologic drop to be inserted into your eyes to enlarge your pupils. This allows the doctor to examine the health of the inside and back of your eye in a more comprehensive manner.

These drops can last anywhere from 2-6 hours, causing some blur to the vision, and light sensitivity. It is recommended that you bring someone to drive you to these types of appointments, unless you’ve been dilated before and know you are comfortable and safe to drive yourself home.

It is a good routine to have a dilation if you are new to our office, as it allows the Doctor of Optometry to have the best comprehensive understanding of your eye. Sometimes on a routine DFE, your optometrist may find an asymptomatic hole, lesion, mole, or tear in your retina, that we would have otherwise not known about. Once you have had a routine DFE done with no concerns detected, another DFE may be recommended once every 3-5 years depending on your symptoms and risk factors for other ocular conditions.

Dilation & Children

Occasionally, cycloplegic drops may be used for dilating eyes in children. The purpose for this dilation is usually different than when used in an adult. These drops are used to temporarily suspend the eye’s ability to focus (or accommodate) to better assess the refractive status (prescription) of your child’s eyes.

This may be recommended for your child if there is a history of a strabismus (eye turn) or amblyopia (lazy eye) or a very strong prescription. Dr. Pennifold tries to use drops in children as little as possible, but will discuss and advise with the parent if she feels it is warranted.