During a retinal exam, or ophthalmoscopy, the eye doctor views the back of your eye through an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. The retina should be examined regularly so that problems can be discovered before they damage vision. There are other tests that would be performed if the ophthalmoscopy indicates potential problems.

The retina is best examined through a dilated pupil, allowing the eye doctor a wider view inside the eye. Eye drops are used to dilate the pupil. The drops cause temporary blurriness and sensitivity to light but these side effects subside relatively quickly.

Prior to your exam, you should share your vital health information with your eye doctor, and parents should do so for their children. If you change eye doctors, try to provide your new doctor with your prior records. Be sure to discuss:

  • Medications you are taking
  • Allergies
  • Health conditions such as diabetes
  • Recent illness

Routine exams are varied somewhat based on age and eye condition.