All You Need to Know: Laser Eye Surgery During Pregnancy
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Laser eye surgery is the ideal way to correct your vision. It can be done without anesthesia and doesn’t require a stay in the hospital. But can you schedule eye surgery if you’re pregnant? What are the risks involved that could affect you and your unborn baby?
What is LASIK surgery?
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, (LASIK), is the most common laser eye surgery. It’s used to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. For most people, eye surgery is pain-free and will be completed in about 15 minutes.
Within as little as 24 hours you’ll be able to see the results of improved vision. Laser eye surgery seems to be a simple procedure, but there are several reasons why LASIK is not performed when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why laser eye surgery isn’t recommended
Both ophthalmologists and doctors agree that laser eye surgery ISN’T advised when you’re pregnant.
One of the reasons for this is that pregnancy and nursing can cause fluctuations in vision. Pregnancy hormones can cause changes in the eyes that are not permanent. Also, fluid retention can cause corneal pressure during pregnancy. This can cause further fluctuations in vision.
Laser eye surgery requires a stable prescription so the surgeon can perform the right vision correction. Doing eye surgery when there are vision fluctuations will most likely result in under-correction or over-correction in the eye after surgery.
Safety Concerns for LASIK During Pregnancy
As well as vision changes during pregnancy, LASIK eye surgery isn’t safe for the following reasons:
Dry Eyes: Pregnant women often experience dry eyes. This is due to an increase in estrogen levels. Some women may even find it too uncomfortable to wear contact lenses during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Dry eyes may interfere with LASIK surgery both during and after, when dry eyes may cause problems with the healing of your eyes.
Eye Drops: Eye drops are used during laser eye surgery to dilate the eyes. Drops are also used to numb the eyes to prevent any discomfort. These drops may not be safe to use while pregnant or while nursing.
Medications: There are also safety concerns about medication and prescription drugs used by LASIK patients, such as antibiotics and steroids. Quite often, patients are given medication to help them relax. During pregnancy, and while breastfeeding, medication used during eye surgery can be passed through to the baby.
How Soon After Pregnancy Can You Have Laser Eye Surgery?
Surgeons recommend that their patients wait at least three months after giving birth or having stopped nursing their baby before scheduling LASIK surgery.
Even while breastfeeding, hormone changes can affect vision. You want to be certain that your hormone levels have all returned to normal before scheduling eye surgery, otherwise your eye surgery may need to be repeated at a later time to once again correct your vision. Consider planning to have LASIK surgery before your pregnancy.
Waiting to have LASIK eye surgery is the best thing that you can do for yourself and your baby.
Talk to an optometrist today at Image Optometry to find out more about LASIK surgery after the birth of your baby. As well, a qualified optometrist will be able to recommend eye drops for dry eyes during your pregnancy.