Why does my optometrist use eye drops sometimes?
Eye drops that dilate the pupils, called mydriatics, are used in some examinations to enable the doctor to get a better view of the inside of the eye. How often this type of examination is necessary depends on the patient's symptoms, age, health and family history. The drops generally leave your eyes a little blurry and sensitive to light, so you may not be able to drive immediately after this procedure. The effect of the drops wears off in 2 to 6 hours.
Eye drops that relax the focus of the eyes, called cycloplegics are used to accurately measure the degree of far-sightedness of the eyes. These are generally used for children and young adults. These drops also leave the eyes blurry and sensitive to light.
Eye drops to anesthetize (numb) the eye are used for procedures that require an instrument touching the eye. The anesthetic does not affect vision and lasts about 15 minutes. Some eye drops contain a dye that helps the doctor diagnose abnormalities of the surface of the eye.