Eye Problems During Pregnancy
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Are you experiencing eye problems during pregnancy? Perhaps you’re not seeing as sharply as you usually do. Or perhaps your eyes are dry and irritated. About 15 percent of pregnant women will experience some type of vision changes during their pregnancy.
Why Pregnancy can Cause Vision Changes
There are several reasons why pregnancy may cause your vision to change. This can include the following:
- Fluid retention
- Blood circulation
How Vision can be Affected
During pregnancy, your eyes may become more irritated and dry. This may also occur for as long as you’re breastfeeding. The cause behind this is your hormones. The shape of your cornea may change slightly as well, making it slightly uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. Consider wearing contacts for shorter periods of time to avoid discomfort.
Pregnancy can either worsen or improve any existing vision problems. If you are short-sighted or farsighted, you may experience vision changes to your usual prescription.
Some women experience migraine headaches during pregnancy. Migraines can cause vision changes such as blind spots and blurred lines.
While most vision changes during pregnancy are not serious, there are some vision problems that may be an indicator of a more dangerous condition. Most vision changes will not affect your baby; however some vision problems may be a symptom of one of the following conditions.
- Gestational Diabetes
- High blood pressure – can cause swelling in the optic nerve
- Preeclampsia – a pregnancy complication that may cause a change in vision
Be sure to contact your doctor if you have severe vision changes, such as blurred vision, blind spots, or flashes of light.
Should I be Worried?
If your vision changes during pregnancy, it will most likely be minor and temporary. In very few cases, if you wear glasses or contact lenses, you may need to modify your prescription. Once your baby has arrived, your vision will return to normal.
Relief for Your Eyes
Perhaps the most common eye problem during pregnancy is dry and irritated eyes. Talk to your optometrist or doctor about using safe eye drops that are okay to use while you’re pregnant. Some of the eye drops that you can buy over the counter contain ingredients that aren’t safe to use during pregnancy. Lubricating your eyes can give you some relief for dry and tired eyes.
If you wear contact lenses and find that they’re uncomfortable or not fitting the way they usually do, try wearing them for shorter periods of time. You might also consider wearing glasses either for the duration of your pregnancy, or at least for part of each day, so that you can avoid some discomfort.
Unless your vision changes are so obvious that you’re having difficulty seeing, don’t spend the money and time to get a new prescription for new glasses or contact lenses. Wait until after your baby is born to book an appointment with your optometrist. At that time you can determine if you really need that new eye wear.
Take a Break from the Screen
Give your vision a rest from the multiple digital devices most of us spend a lot of time looking at each day. Staring at the screen for long periods of time can make dry eyes even worse. If you do need to look at a digital screen for a few hours each day, try to remember to blink often and take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
Although most vision changes are harmless, it’s important to contact your optometrist to have your eyes checked to rule out any serious problems.
Call Image Optometry in the lower mainland to find out what you can do to manage your vision problems during pregnancy.