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  • Writer's pictureCarina Lee

Can Pregnancy Affect Vision?

Dr. Carina Lee, November 2, 2022

An estimated 15 percent of women experience vision changes during pregnancy.


Your body can undergo a wide range of changes throughout pregnancy. Although occasionally painful, these changes—which are simply your body adjusting to hormone fluctuations and changes in blood circulation—are mostly perfectly normal and essential for your baby to develop and stay healthy within your womb. The majority of expectant mothers are aware of the physical changes that occur during pregnancy, the most frequent of which include morning sickness, food aversions, an increased sense of smell, swollen ankles, headaches, tiredness, and many other unpleasant but typical symptoms.


You might be surprised to learn that these physiological changes that occur during pregnancy might also affect your eyes and vision.



Dry eye syndrome


Dry eye syndrome can develop when the quantity or quality of your tears is impacted by the pregnancy hormones in your body.


If your eyes do not receive the necessary lubrication from the tears, dry eyes will result and vision will be affected.

Symptoms:

  • Excessive tearing

  • Occasional blurry vision

  • Itchy eyes

  • Burning

  • Red eyes

Warm compresses and over-the-counter (OTC) artificial tears eye drops can usually be used to treat dry eye syndrome.

Your eye doctor may also recommend an anti-inflammatory eye drop if these drops are insufficient to relieve your symptoms.


Precaution: Before taking any sort of eye drop, whether natural or medication, while pregnant, always talk to your doctor.


You can also try some natural home treatments to ease the signs and symptoms of dry eye:

  • Gently massage your eyes to promote tear production.

  • Maintain good eyelid hygiene.

  • To refresh your eyes throughout the day, spray your face and eyes with pure rosewater.

  • Use the following advice to prevent dry eye syndrome:

  • Take in a lot of water.

  • Boost your diet with a range of fresh fruits and veggies.

  • Regularly take prenatal vitamins.

  • Get a humidifier to add moisture to your house and workplace.

  • Put on shades to shield your eyes from wind and sun.

  • Limit the time you spend in front of any digital screens, including those on your computer.


Blurry vision

You're probably already aware of how your body now holds water, causing your feet, ankles, and fingers to swell.


You might not be aware of it, but fluid retention can also happen in your eyes, which can cause hazy vision by raising intraocular pressure.


The corneas of your eyes might thicken and change form as they retain fluid. This in turn may affect the way light is refracted or bent through your eyes, impairing vision. Although you might feel that the moment has come to alter your optical prescription, most eye specialists advise waiting until after giving birth because, in most cases, your vision will likely return to normal at that point.


Migraines


Pregnancy is a time when migraine headaches are common, and they can result in visual auras either before or during the headache itself.


The following visual disruptions are frequently brought on by visual auras:

  • Blind spots

  • Flashing lights

  • Zig-zagging lines

  • Temporary vision loss

These visual alterations occur in some women but not migraine headaches.

Ask your primary care physician which drugs are safe to take while pregnant if you suffer from migraine headaches with or without visual abnormalities.


Pink eye

Your immune system will be weakened during pregnancy, which will increase your vulnerability to illnesses.


For this reason, conjunctivitis, also referred to as pink eye, frequently affects pregnant women.


Make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as you can if you see any of the symptoms below so that the infection may be treated right away.

  • Red or pink eyes

  • Eye pain

  • Burning

  • Itching

  • Soreness

  • Yellow discharge from eye

  • Crust around eyelid margins

When to see an eye doctor during pregnancy

Although pregnancy-related vision abnormalities are typical, doctors advise getting an eye test to rule out anything more serious that could be the source of your visual difficulties.


Report any and all changes in your vision, especially if you experience double vision, flashing lights, or floaters, as these could be symptoms of a more serious issue.


To safeguard both your health and the health of your unborn child, pregnancy-related problems like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes should be identified and treated as soon as feasible. These conditions can also affect vision.

How can I improve my vision during pregnancy?

Pregnancy-related vision changes usually go away on their own a few weeks or months after giving birth. After the birth of your child, your eye doctor may want to reexamine your eyes and vision to rule out any additional issues if your vision stays hazy or if you suffer new vision changes.


Try the following ideas in the interim to keep your vision as comfortable as possible.


Take a break from contact lenses

The wearing of your contact lenses may make your vision worse.

The cornea, which is where the contact lens is implanted, and the way your contact lenses fit on your eyes can both be altered by fluctuating hormone levels. If you discover that using contacts causes your vision to become more blurry, switching to glasses for a few months prior to the birth of your child may be a smart move. Ask your eye doctor about switching to a daily disposable or scleral contact lens if you prefer to keep wearing contacts; both are suggested for people who experience dry eye symptoms.


Rest your eyes


You are more prone to have hazy vision when your eyes are fatigued.

Your eyes may grow fatigued if you use a computer or other digital device for a prolonged period of time.

Frequently step away from the screen.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule by gazing 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

On your screen, change the color and brightness.

Your eyes can benefit from screen time if you make some simple adjustments. Don't forget that having a good night's sleep can help your eyes recover from a hard day and be helpful for your eyesight and eye health.


Consume a healthy diet


During pregnancy, you should feed your body a range of nutritious foods that are rich in the vitamins and minerals it needs. Make sure to consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, seafood (containing omega-3) like salmon and sardines, as well as a range of nutritious nuts. Additionally, it's critical to get lots of rest and drink a lot of water. All of these healthy lifestyle recommendations will keep you and your developing child in good health throughout your pregnancy and help you more easily transition to your new lifestyle once your child is born. Your body will appreciate it, and your eyes will benefit from clearer vision. It's crucial to keep in mind that each pregnancy will be different.


Never be afraid to contact your eye doctor if you have any queries or worries regarding your eyes or vision while expecting.


Contact a local ophthalmologist if you notice changes in your eyesight during pregnancy so they can make a diagnosis and go over your best course of action

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