It goes without saying that pregnancy causes a myriad of changes to a woman’s body, and, unbeknownst to many, those changes can include vision issues. In fact, data suggests such vision changes happen to as many as 15 percent of all pregnant women.
During pregnancy, changes in metabolism, hormones, blood circulation and fluid retention can all affect the eyes and eyesight. Let’s take water retention, a major factor during pregnancy, as an example: It is possible that the curvature and thickness of the cornea may be increased by this process. While this may seem like a small change on the surface, it could affect whether contacts or glasses remain capable of correcting vision. This is also the reason laser eye surgery isn’t recommended during pregnancy, and why it’s not the ideal time for new glasses/contact fittings.
If, during pregnancy, your vision is altered, it will most likely be a minor change and a temporary one at that. Most pregnancy-related changes that our eye care experts have seen reverse themselves within several months of delivery. Additionally, if you wear glasses and become pregnant, it is unlikely that you will need to change your prescription, though it is possible. Bear in mind that most women who experience prolonged changes find that they are slightly more nearsighted than they were prior to pregnancy.
If you come to believe that there’s been a significant change in your vision, see an eye doctor for an exam.
How else can pregnancy affect your eyes? Let’s take a quick look at additional factors:
Dryness and Irritation – During pregnancy, your eyes may be more irritated or drier (symptoms that can also last for as long as you’re breastfeeding); this, coupled with the aforementioned subtle changes in the thickness and shape of the cornea, can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable.
Visual Disturbances From Migraines – If you experience blind spots or flashing lights, one possible reason may be a condition called “migraine with aura,” endured by some women for the first time during pregnancy. This condition yields a headache that’s painful (usually on one side of the head), and can come along with visual disturbances such as zigzag lines, bright flashes of light, blind spots or even temporary vision loss.
Eye Disease – Some women with a pregnancy that’s otherwise healthy develop an eye disease known as Central Serous Chorioretinopathy (CSC) in which a buildup of fluid occurs under the retina; layers of the retina then detach and distort the vision, creating blind spots.
In general, let your eye care professional know immediately if you experience the following during pregnancy:
- Blind spots
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Temporary vision loss
You should also get in touch with Matossian Eye Associates if you experience redness or eye pain, or if you notice puffiness or swelling around your eyes – another symptom that may accompany preeclampsia.