Dilating Eye Drops for Your Child: What You Need to Know

Paediatric eye care is crucial to the overall health of your kid. Children may not often realise they have an eye problem because they think it's the same vision for everyone else. This makes it extremely important for eye exams to start as early as possible. Most kids tend to be nervous about a visit to the optometrist probably because they think it's scary. As a parent, your role in preparing your little one for their first eye test is fundamental. The right readiness can make an eye-test a fun and exciting experience for both you and your kid. Communicating with your kid on what to expect in an eye-test is at the core of the preparation, and one critical thing you should talk about is dilation or the use of dilating eye drops.  Here is all there is to know about this. 

What the Eye Drops Are

Dilating eye drops are specialised eye drops that contain medication to enlarge the pupil of the eye. An enlarged or dilated pupil makes it easier for the optometrist to examine the inside of your kid's eyes to diagnose the eye problem. It will also allow him or her to make accurate measurements of the need for glasses for your child, often referred to as the refractive error.  During the dilation process, your kid will be administered with a given set of drops whose number depends on the colour of the eyes. If your child has dark-coloured eyes, he or she may need additional drops. 

How Long the Dilation Lasts

There is no general rule for how long your kid's eyes will stay dilated. The duration varies depending on the individual patient as well as the strength of the drops. For instance, individuals with lighter-coloured eyes tend to experience a more extended period of pupil dilation. Overall, the dilation lasts for hours. 

The Side Effects

Knowing the side effects of the dilating eye drops will help you understand how your child's lifestyle will be affected during the treatment period. The drops can have a stingy feeling when administered but this won't be painful to your kid, and it often lasts only for a few seconds. The child may experience blurry vision so remember to inform the teachers about this if he or she will be going back to school. Light sensitivity is the other side effect so it would be helpful to get sunglasses for the kid after the exam. While allergic reactions to dilating eye drops are rare, they tend to be characterised by red eyes and swelling. Be sure to contact an optometrist as soon as possible if you notice any worrying side effects.