Most pregnant women expect morning sickness, lower back pain, changes in appetite, and swollen feet, but what about changes in vision? Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy not only affect your mood and appetite, but they can affect your eyesight as well. Fortunately, problems with vision during pregnancy are usually minor and temporary, and eyesight typically returns to normal once your baby is born. Here’s the most common vision problems to be aware of throughout your pregnancy:
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common ailments affecting women – especially during periods of hormonal shifts, like pregnancy. Typically experienced toward the end of the first trimester, dry eyes can continue throughout pregnancy and, in some cases, can even last a few months after the baby is born. Dry eyes occur because changes in hormones affect tear and lipid production – when the tear film isn’t sufficient enough to support the surface of the eye, dry eye syndrome occurs. Therapy for dry eyes during pregnancy typically occurs in the form of transiently-preserved tears – your doctor can recommend which brand is right for you. In most cases, simply using these drops four to eight times a day clears up the problem. Women with more severe cases may be prescribed a gel or ointment which can further support the eye and improve symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
Fluid retention, a common side effect of pregnancy, can change the thickness and shape of the cornea. In some cases, this may cause mild changes to your glasses or contact lens prescription. You may feel more nearsighted one day, while other days your vision may seem completely normal. For most women, these changes in vision aren’t drastic enough to warrant a prescription change or emergency trip to the eye doctor. Most eye experts advise against getting Lasik surgery or being fitted for new contact lenses during pregnancy, as your corneas will revert back to normal once your baby is born.
Contact Lenses & Pregnancy
Some women find wearing contact lenses during pregnancy to be unbearable, even if they’ve worn them for years. During pregnancy, subtle changes occur to the shape of the cornea and contact lenses that once felt very comfortable may suddenly fit differently. If you’re a contact lens wearer, you may have to switch to glasses during your pregnancy. And don’t worry, your eyes will return to normal within a few weeks of delivery.
In many cases, pregnant women with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and migraines, may have to monitor their conditions closely. Blurred vision in women with diabetes could indicate elevated blood sugar levels, an increase in blood pressure during pregnancy can cause retinal detachment, and women being treated for glaucoma should tell their doctor right away if they’re pregnant, as certain glaucoma medications may be harmful to the developing baby. Additionally, migraines linked to hormonal changes are very common among pregnant women. If you are pregnant and suffering from migraines, consult your doctor before taking prescriptions or over-the-counter migraine medication, as these may have negative effects on your child.