Last week I went to my yearly eye doctor appointment, mostly because I needed to re-up my contact prescription.

I was anticipating a quick check-up with my doctor, so I brought my glasses and contact case. No big deal. While at the doctor they dilated my eyes, which I've had done before and never had an issue. I'm not sure if it changes as we get older, but this time around my eye dilation was stronger than it has ever been before.

Why Do Eye Doctors Dilate Your Eyes?

If you've never been to the eye doctor, sometimes the doctor will dilate your eyes to let more light into your eye. According to the National Eye Institute, dilation "Helps your eye doctor check for many common eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration."

When the eye dilation drops are administered it takes about 30 minutes for dilation to occur. Then, your eyes will be dilated for anywhere between 4 and 24 hours.

My eyes ended up being dilated for 6 hours! Real photo from 3 hours post doctor office visit:


Needless to say, it was quite an eventful day.

Is It Illegal to Drive With Your Eyes Dilated in New York?

After my eye dilation, I wasn't told not to drive or given any sort of instruction, but I took my own precautions and waited a bit before I drove away. However, my eyes were super sensitive for the rest of the day.

While I waited to recover I thought about how this might affect other drivers and then the thought popped into my head "Is driving this way illegal?!"  A quick Google search calmed my nerves and found " There is no specific period of time that a person must wait before driving after having their eyes dilated; the decision to drive after an eye exam is a personal choice."

So, if you're anything like me and are a classic overthinker rest easy, it's not illegal.

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