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Eye and Vision Care

Fainting from eye exam

03/07/2007

Question:

How common is it for someone to faint when being examined from dialation. This happened to my 13 year old. She has always been light sensitive, and does not like looking through telescope devices, not as much now as when younger. Very scary.

Answer:

It's uncommon to have this happen, but it occurs most often in teenage boys. It's called vasovagal syncope. When the eye is touched or pressed against, the nervous system causes the blood pressure to drop, and the person faints. This can happen during installing eye drops, eye pressure test, or other procedure where the eye is contacted. It's more embarrassing than anything else, but harmless. This usually doesn't continue to happen each time there's a visit to the eye doctor, but the doctor should be told about such a reaction.

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Response by:

Cynthia Gale Heard, OD Cynthia Gale Heard, OD
Formerly
Assistant Professor, Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University