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Eye and Vision Care

Length of Dilation

10/26/2010

Question:

Are there eye drops that are weaker in strength for eye dilation? Last time my eyes were dilated they stayed dilated for 10 hours.

Answer:

I am not sure which drop you were dilated with at your recent eye exam, but there are different dilating agents. The most common dilating agent is Tropicamide and is available in two strengths, 1% and 0.5%. The 0.5% should have a more mild effect than the 1% and therefore should not last as long.

The other drops commonly used in the eye care setting are much longer acting than the previously mentioned drops. It is possible that you may have been dilated with one of these drops, accidentally or for a diagnostic purpose. Fortunately side effects are typically minimal except for duration of dilation.

If you have light colored eyes (blue or green) the effect may have lasted longer as well.

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Response by:

Aaron  Zimmerman, OD, MS Aaron Zimmerman, OD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University