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Specialists say more Americans need to get their eyes dilated

Posted at 11:54 AM, Feb 13, 2023

New information shows a lot of people over 40 aren't doing everything they should to keep their eyesight as they get older.

A survey by the American Society of Retina Specialists found that 27 percent of people 40 and up say they haven't had a dilated eye exam in more than five years. That includes 13 percent who have never had one.

Retinal specialists say there could be a few reasons why.

A dilated eye exam is one where the pupil is dilated with drops so the doctor can see all the way to the retina at the back of the eye.

It can help diagnose issues early, like age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

“If people have a problem with their vision, they again just attribute it most commonly to needing glasses or having a cataract right. I think that's one thing,” said Philip Ferrone, a retina specialist. “The second is there's no pain with retinal disease, no pain, no discomfort.”

What are some of the signs you might need to have your eyes dilated?

“One is distortion of lines or distortion of images. So a line that you know, should be straight appears wavy. That's a problem,” Ferrone said. “You can have little blind spots in your vision.”

If you're having these symptoms, or if you're over age 40 and it's been a while since your last dilated eye exam, he says it's time to make an appointment with your eye doctor.