Pregnancy and Vision

Catherine McCarthy

Author

Catherine McCarthy

B.Optom(RAU)
M.C.Optom(UK)

Pregnancy brings about a lot of body changes, morning sickness and pains. But did you know that it can also change your eyes and vision?

In fact, changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation all affect your eyes which may impact how well you see.If you experience vision changes during your pregnancy, most likely they will be minor and temporary. Eyesight will presumably return to normal after the delivery of your baby. However, some vision problems associated with pregnancy may require medical attention.

Below are some of the changes that can occur:

Dry eyes

You may find your eyes feel extra dry during your pregnancy. This can make wearing contact lenses less comfortable and you may have to use lubricating eye drops more frequently and /or wear your lenses for fewer hours.

Long periods of screen time, such as televisions, computers and smart phones can aggravate eye dryness and irritation. We recommend you look away from your screen every 20 minutes and make a conscious effort to blink more frequently.

Sight changes

Fluid retention is a common side effect of pregnancy and may affect the thickness and shape of your cornea causing blurry vision .In most cases these vision changes are minor however because of the potential change in shape of your cornea; you should not to have laser eye surgery during pregnancy. If you think your vision has changed significantly, have your vision checked by your eye care professional.

Gestational diabetes

Women who have diabetes or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (a temporary form of diabetes during pregnancy) need to carefully monitor how well they can see. Blurry vision may be an indication of elevated blood sugar levels, which can damage the small blood vessels in the back of the eye (known as the retina). If you are diagnosed with diabetes prior to your pregnancy, see an ophthalmologist prior to or in the early stages of pregnancy to discuss monitoring plans to screen for retinal damage may be needed.

Glaucoma

Due to hormonal changes, the pressure within the eye generally increases during pregnancy. Those with glaucoma should talk with their eye doctor before they become pregnant.

Puffiness around the eyes

Puffy eyelids are a common side effect of pregnancy. To help with this, make sure you are drinking enough water and monitor your sodium intake. Call your obstetrician if you notice an unusual amount of swelling or puffiness around your eyes – as this is a symptom that may accompany preeclampsia, a potentially serious problem that occurs in 5% to 8% of pregnancies.

If you are worried about your eyesight, contact your nearest optometrist to get a consult.

CATHERINE ROSEWALL-MCCARTHY

B.Optom(RAU) M.C.Optom(UK)

Pregnancy and Vision

If you have further questions about this topic, or feel that you need to discuss your personal situation with a professional optometrist, please contact us so we can assist you further.

LARA JOSEPH

B.Optom(RAU)