What Eye Drops are Safe to use during Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, you need to check that any type of medication you use is safe for both you and your unborn baby – including topical medication, such as eye drops.
Now you might not necessarily think of eye drops as being medication. Lots of people who wear contact lenses get dry eyes and use eye drops to relieve irritation. Or you might use eye drops to alleviate the symptoms of allergies, tired eyes or even the effects of other medications that you’re taking.
But the fact of the matter is that eye drops, or artificial tears as they are sometimes known, do count as a form of topical treatment. You should always take medical advice before starting any kind of medication, but this is especially true if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
This is because the medication that you take can pass to your baby via your bloodstream or milk, even those that are topical. Not all types of medication are unsafe, but some will be harmful to your baby. This is particularly true during the first trimester of pregnancy when an unborn baby is in the early stages of development.
Are eye drops safe to use during pregnancy?
So how about those eye drops in your medicine cabinet. Are they OK to use? And if not, what eye drops are safe during pregnancy?
It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive list of the eye drops that are safe to use during pregnancy. Not many scientific studies have been carried out on humans due to the risks involved. Studies have been carried out on animals, but the results may not necessarily apply to human beings.
It is known that certain eye drops are not advised. This includes glaucoma eye drops such as Brinzolamide, Xalatan, Xalacom, Lumigan and Travatan. But others, like Miotics, haven’t been shown to have any adverse effects when taken during pregnancy.
Therefore because of the uncertainty involved, the best advice is not to use any eye drops until you’ve consulted a medical practitioner, such as an eye doctor, family doctor or pharmacist.
You’ll be advised of any risks involved, and whether these risks outweigh the benefits. If the eye drops are confirmed as being safe, you can rest assured that it’s OK to use them.
If you need to change the type of eye drops that you’re taking, you’ll need to consult with a medical practitioner once again. Different eye drops have different chemical make-ups. This means that some may contain ingredients that have potentially damaging effects, while others will be perfectly safe.
Relieving uncomfortable eyes during pregnancy
Now if you’re suffering from excruciatingly itchy eyes and you’re pregnant, this might not be the answer you want to hear. Understandably you’ll just want something that makes that itch stop, and fast!
Itchy eyes are common amongst pregnant women and are caused by the fluctuation in hormone levels. This particular problem is caused by a decrease in the hormone that lubricates the eyes and produces tears.
Pregnancy can also exacerbate any allergies that you have. So if you usually have mild hay fever, the symptoms may get a whole lot worse while you’re pregnant.
But as anyone who’s had dry and itchy eyes will know, it can be infuriating. It can impact on your ability to sleep and also increases the risk of eye infection.
So what can you do until you get some eye drops from your optometrist or family doctor? Well, there are some home remedies you can try first. These include:
- Applying warm or cold compresses to your eyes
- Increasing the air moisture in your home with a humidifier
- Keep your eyes clean and free of discharge by washing them with water
- Applying cucumber slices to your eyes
If these suggestions don’t provide any relief, or you’re worried that you might have an infection, be sure to visit an eye doctor straight away and ask about pregnancy eye drops.
How we can help
At Image Optometry, we specialize in eye health. We can advise what eye drops are safe during pregnancy.
Maybe you’ve been using eye drops alongside your contact lenses prior to your pregnancy? Perhaps even for years now? Then we can say whether or not you should continue to use them, or whether an alternative product would be more suitable.
Or maybe you’ve developed dry and itchy eyes as a result of your pregnancy? If so we can explore the different treatments available, recommending the best option for you and your unborn baby.
To find out more, book an appointment with one of our optometrists.