My wife has been experiencing vision changes during pregnancy, and so I set out to write this article for all moms-to-be and pregnant women.
Pregnancy can affect a women’s vision. It is not often talked about; however, among the vast amount of other changes you may be experiencing, you also might not be seeing as well as you did pre-pregnancy. Why? The effect of changing hormones and fluids like blood and water may change the shape of the cornea and lens. This can result in an ever so slight change in shape and thickness. Unfortunately, you may find your glasses or contact lenses not correcting as well, or in the case of contact lenses, fit as comfortably as pre-pregnancy. Usually a few weeks after birth your vision transitions back to its normal state. In some cases though, your vision may stay blurry till you finish breastfeeding. Other women do experience a permanent vision change, in this case, an updated prescription is needed depending on the degree of vision change.
Generally, any changes during pregnancy are minor and many women will overlook them due to all the other changes occurring in her body. These changes usually do not require the attention of an optometrist. However, it is important to remember, because of the increased susceptibility to changes in vision, it is not recommended that pregnant women get laser eye surgery.
If you are experiencing a significant change in vision it is important to seek medical help from your optometrist immediately. Specifically, if you are experiencing the following:
- Double vision
- Seeing flashes of lights
- Vision loss (temporarily or permanently)
- Blurred vision
- Dark spot(s)
A small percentage of women develop a condition called preeclampsia, which results from high blood pressure and is generally detected through a urine sample, which tests the presence of certain proteins. Preeclampsia is a very serious condition and can cause rapid bleeding in the eye(s) so it is imperative to have immediate treatment. If a patient experiences one or more of the above symptoms while pregnant, they should seek immediate attention by their optometrist as it could also signal this condition.
Diabetes, Pregnancy and Blurred Vision
If you have diabetes prior to becoming pregnant it is especially important to have your eyes regularly examined, because this condition can cause changes to small blood vessels in the back of the eye(s), and lead to bleeding and possible vision loss. Some women will develop gestational diabetes, which occurs in 10% of pregnant women. It is not associated with diabetic eye disease, but it is associated with other maternal and fetal complications, and warrants close follow-up with a patient’s health care professional.
Whether it be a small change or an extreme one, if you experience vision changes during pregnancy you should always seek advice from an eye care professional to ensure optimal eye health.
Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns relating to this article or eyes in general, we love seeing happy eyes!
— Dr. Balraj R. Sharma