TOPICS COURTESY PREVENTBLINDNESS.ORG
Can being pregnant affect my eyes?
Yes. Pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. In most cases, these are temporary eye conditions that will return to normal after delivery.
As an expectant mother, you should:
1. be aware of vision changes during pregnancy and
2. know what symptoms indicate a serious problem.
What kind of changes might occur in my eyes during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, changes in hormone levels can alter the strength you need in your eyeglasses or contact lenses. Though this is usually nothing to worry about, it’s a good idea to discuss any vision changes with an eye doctor who can help you decide whether or not to change your prescription. The doctor may simply tell you to wait a few weeks after delivery before making a change in your prescription.
Some women experience dry eyes during pregnancy. This is usually temporary and goes away after delivery. The good news is that lubricating or rewetting eye drops are perfectly safe to use while you are pregnant or nursing. They can lessen the discomfort of dry eyes. – Read more about dry eyes.
It’s also good to know that contact lenses, contact lens solutions and enzymatic cleaners are safe to use while you are pregnant. To reduce the irritation caused by a combination of dry eyes and contact lenses, try cleaning your contact lenses with an enzymatic cleaner more often. If dry, irritated eyes make wearing contacts too uncomfortable, don’t worry. Your eyes will return to normal within a few weeks after delivery.
Puffiness around the eyes is another common side effect of certain hormonal changes women may have while pregnant. Puffy eyelids may interfere with side vision. As a rule of thumb, don’t skimp on your water intake and stick to a moderate diet, low in sodium and caffeine. These healthy habits can help limit water retention and boost your overall comfort.
Why should I tell my eye doctor if I become pregnant?
If you suffer from any pre-existing eye conditions, like glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, it’s very important to tell your eye doctor that you are pregnant. Your eye doctor may watch closely for changes in your vision during this exciting time in your life.
Some conditions that your eye doctor should know about are:
Migraine headaches linked to hormonal changes are very common among pregnant women. In some cases, painful migraine headaches make eyes feel more sensitive to light. If you are pregnant and suffering from migraines, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or non-prescription migraine headache medications.
Prenatal care helps keep both you and your unborn child healthy. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are having any problems. Keep your eye doctor up-to-date about your overall health. Tell him or her about any pre-existing conditions, and about any prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking.
Women who are diabetic before their pregnancy and those who develop gestational diabetes need to watch their vision closely. Blurred vision in such cases may indicate elevated blood sugar levels.
High Blood Pressure
In some cases, a woman may have blurry vision or spots in front of her eyes while pregnant. These symptoms can be caused by an increase in blood pressure during pregnancy. At excessive levels, high blood pressure can even cause retinal detachment.
Women being treated for glaucoma should tell their eye doctor right away if they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant.
While many glaucoma medications are safe to take during pregnancy, certain glaucoma medications such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can be harmful to the developing baby.