Can Pregnancy Affect Your Eyes?

If you’re expecting, you expect to have morning sickness or lower back pain. But you might be surprised when your vision changes. The hormonal and physical changes that come with pregnancy can also affect your eyesight.

Most issues are usually minor and temporary. Your sight should return to normal after your baby is born. But some problems linked to pregnancy may require medical attention.

Here are four problems to look out for:

Dry Eyes

You may notice that your eyes are drier than usual. This can make your contact lenses irritating.

What to do: Use artificial tears to wet your eyes and ease dryness. If you wear contacts, check the label to make sure the drops can be used with contacts. Some have preservatives that can harm soft contact lenses. Also, talk to your doctor first to make sure the ingredients are safe for pregnant women.

Blurred Vision

Many pregnant women retain fluids. This common side effect can change the thickness and shape of your cornea. That can lead to distorted vision. These changes usually go away after delivery or after you stop breastfeeding.

What to do: You may not need to do anything if the changes don't bother you. If they do, talk to your doctor. You may need to change your prescription if you wear glasses. Most eye experts advise against getting LASIK surgery or being fitted for new contacts during pregnancy. Your eyes will go back to normal when your pregnancy is over.

Preeclampsia

Vision changes can be a sign of this potentially serious problem that occurs in a small number of pregnant women. It’s marked by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ. Symptoms include:

What to do: If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor ASAP or go to the ER. Preeclampsia can progress rapidly and cause bleeding and other serious problems.

Gestational Diabetes

High blood sugar levels linked to diabetes can damage the small blood vessels that supply your retina. The chances go up as your pregnancy progresses. A temporary form of diabetes that sometimes affects moms-to-be, called gestational diabetes, can also cause blurred vision.

What to do: If you have diabetes, keep close tabs on it while you’re pregnant. If you get gestational diabetes, make sure your blood sugar levels don’t get too high. Your doctor will help.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on January 21, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Canadian National Institute on Blindness (CNIB).

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

Sheth, B. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology, December 2001.

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