While most patients are comfortable driving after their dilated eye examinations, it is up to each individual to decide whether they are safe to operate a motor vehicle.
Dilation is necessary to adequately examine the eye, as many dangerous retinal conditions are hidden behind an un-dilated pupil.
Dilation can affect vision in two ways. First is that dilation allows more light into the eye, increasing sensitivity to brightness. This can usually be overcome by wearing tinted glasses. The second is that dilation temporarily paralyzes the muscle that allows the eye to focus on near objects. This blurriness up close does not resolve until dilation wears off a few hours later.
Most patients are comfortable driving while dilated. They use their own tinted lenses or those provided at check out to avoid sensitivity to bright light. Since driving requires mostly distance vision, patients feel comfortable driving despite being blurry at near.
The decision whether to drive or not is entirely up to each patient. Anyone who does not feel safe to drive while dilated, whether they meet Florida requirements or not, should arrange to have a separate driver or wait 3-4 hours for the dilation to wear off before driving. Those patients with reduced vision or other physical limitations should be particularly careful about driving after dilation.