How Pregnancy Affects Your Eyes

While most people are aware of the more obvious physical transformations during pregnancy, few are aware of the impact it can have on eye health. Surprisingly, pregnancy can significantly affect your vision, leading to temporary but noticeable changes.

pregnancy

Photo by Leah Newhouse

Understanding the Vision Changes During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, many women experience a variety of vision changes. These changes are primarily due to hormonal fluctuations, fluid retention, and changes in blood circulation:

  • Hormonal Fluctuations: Pregnancy hormones like estrogen and progesterone can lead to fluid retention throughout the body, including in the eyes. This fluid retention can cause changes in the curvature of the cornea and lens, leading to refractive changes. Many women report fluctuations in their prescription for glasses or contact lenses during pregnancy.
  • Dry Eyes: Hormonal changes can also affect the tear production in your eyes, leading to dryness and discomfort. This condition, known as pregnancy-induced dry eye, can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable for some women.
  • Blurred Vision: Some pregnant women may experience blurred vision, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. This blurriness can be caused by hormonal changes affecting the shape and thickness of the cornea.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Light: Some women may find themselves more sensitive to light than usual during pregnancy. This sensitivity, known as photophobia, can be particularly noticeable for those who spend long hours in front of screens or under bright lights.

woman-doctor

Photo by MART PRODUCTION

Managing Eye Health During Pregnancy

While these vision changes are usually temporary and resolve after childbirth, it’s essential to manage your eye health during pregnancy:

  • Regular Eye Exams: Schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist during pregnancy, especially if you notice significant changes in your vision. They can assess your eye health and update your prescription if necessary.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate dry eyes and maintain overall eye comfort. Consider using lubricating eye drops recommended by your eye care provider.
  • Adjusting Eyewear: If your vision changes significantly during pregnancy, consult your eye care professional about updating your glasses or contact lens prescription. Avoid laser eye surgery or other permanent vision correction procedures until after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Manage Lighting: Reduce eye strain by adjusting lighting conditions in your workspace and home. Use task lighting rather than overhead lighting, and consider glasses with an anti-reflective coating or blue light blocking lenses if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most vision changes during pregnancy are normal, some symptoms may indicate a more serious issue:

  • Sudden or severe vision changes
  • Double vision
  • Seeing spots or flashes of light
  • Loss of peripheral vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye care provider immediately.

woman-laptop

Photo by Matilda Wormwood

Pregnancy can bring about temporary changes in vision due to hormonal fluctuations. These changes typically resolve after childbirth, but it’s crucial to monitor your eye health during pregnancy and seek professional advice if you notice significant or concerning symptoms.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.