Eye Dilation

Doctor checking patient's eye in exam room Having your child’s eyes dilated can help diagnose and treat eye conditions.

To dilate your child’s eyes, an ophthalmic technician will place eye drops into the eye. These drops contain medication that will enlarge (dilate) the pupil of the eye. A larger pupil helps clinicians examine the inside and back of the eye, allowing for the most accurate diagnosis and best treatment of your child’s eye condition.

Depending on your child’s eyes, it may take 20 to 30 minutes for the drops to take effect. Once dilated, your child’s pupil can remain dilated anywhere from four to 24 hours and may cause blurred vision for some of that time. Dilation tends to last longer in people with lighter colored eyes, and occasionally a child’s eyes may stay dilated for longer than 24 hours.

Please contact our office at 215-590-2791 if you have questions or concerns. Sunglasses may be helpful after a dilated eye exam to protect your child’s eyes from sensitivity to light. Your child can return to school, but teachers should be aware of dilated eyes and possible blurred vision.

Shy young girl with glasses

Your Child's Ophthalmology Appointment

Find information to help you prepare for your child’s visit to the Division of Ophthalmology.

boy wearing sunglasses

Preparing for Eye Surgery

Is your child having eye surgery at CHOP? Here's what you should know, from scheduling and referrals to how to prepare your child for the procedure.