A Dilated Fundus Examination in "Regular English"

Reading through the purpose and procedure for a Dilated Fundus Examination (DFE) can sound like science fiction. Here’s our regular language interpretation.

What is it?
A DFE is an exam that uses special eye drops to enlarge the pupil of the eye. This gives optometrists a better view of the internal surface of the eye. It is a more effective method for checking internal eye health – similar to receiving an X-Ray at a dentist. It allows doctors to see the peripheral part of the retina, lens, and fluid inside your eye.

Why should I have one? 
This gives optometrists insight into your retinal health (cataracts, glaucoma, optic nerve head disease, plus many others) and about your overall health – this exam can find evidence of systemic disease prior to symptoms showing up elsewhere in the body.

What can I expect?

  • Medicated eye drops are administered to enlarge the pupil. This takes about 20-30 minutes to start working.
  • At first, you’ll notice that your near vision will start to blur slightly, then eventually you may notice distance blur. You may also become more sensitized to light. Depending on the drops used, your vision may remain blurry for 4-6 hours.
  • Interesting! People with light coloured eyes will often react quicker to the drops than those with darker coloured eyes. Their pupils will often dilate more, but the effects of the drops will often wear off quicker, too.
  • After the procedure, we recommend you wait for the effects of the eye drops to diminish or have someone pick you up. It’s a great idea to wear sunglasses after the procedure to reduce light sensitivity. 

Who should have a DFE?
A DFE is recommended for anyone with visual concerns, headaches, diabetes, hypertension, over the age of 65, or on medications that may affect vision. Anyone undergoing ocular surgery is required to have a DFE to ensure there are no underlying problems beforehand.

*Images found here and here

Warning Signs of Serious Eye Disease

If you should ever experience any of the following symptoms please call eye-bar as soon as possible @ 780.467.3341. Most emergency visits to your optometrist are now covered under Alberta Health Care.

  •  Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Seeing flashes of light in one or both of your eyes
  • Seeing a large number of spots or “floaters” in your eyes, especially if the number has increased dramatically recently
  • Double vision
  • Pain in or around the eyes
  • Headaches that progressively worsen over time.

If you should ever experience any of these ocular symptoms outside of normal eye-bar office hours, please proceed directly to the Royal Alexandra Hospital or call Health Link Alberta @ 780.408.5465 for further assistance.


eye-bar optometry - eye exams, contact lenses, emergency visits and ophthalmology referrals

Comprehensive Sight Testing Now at eye-bar

Comprehensive sight testing is only one component of the comprehensive eye health exams at eye-bar optometry. Sight testing ensures that you can see your best at all distances. If your sight test determines that you require a prescription for eyeglasses, then our eye doctors will provide you with a copy of your prescription.

Sight testing however without a comprehensive eye health evaluation is simply unethical eye care. Providing our patients a prescription for new eyeglasses or contact lenses without first determining the underlying cause of their vision problem is not what eye-bar optometry is about. So rest assured that the eye doctors at eye-bar optometry provide a thorough eye health evaluation with every eyeglass or contact lens prescription. 

An eye exam performed by a licensed optometrist is about more then just updating your eyeglasses or contact lenses, it’s about peace of mind.



eye-bar optometry - eye exams, contact lenses, emergency visits and ophthalmology referrals