Of all the effects that pregnancy has on a woman’s body, changes to the eyes and vision are some of the most unexpected. Dr. Sandra Belmont encourages her patients to be aware of the vision-related changes commonly associated with pregnancy, as well as the symptoms that could indicate a more serious problem.
Changes in Vision Prescription
Some of the more common pregnancy-related vision changes are blurry vision and the need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions throughout the pregnancy. Fluid retention, a common side effect of pregnancy, is often to blame.
During pregnancy, fluid can build up behind the eye or inside the eyeball, changing the size and shape of the cornea. This results in blurry vision and a shift in vision prescription.
Fortunately, after delivery the fluid retention typically resolves on its own and vision goes back to its baseline.
Dry, Itchy Eyes
Another vision-related issue that commonly occurs during pregnancy is dry, itchy eyes. Hormonal fluctuations can inhibit tear production and tear flow, causing irritated and uncomfortable eyes. Dr. Belmont can recommend a safe brand of prescription or over-the-counter artificial tears to soothe the irritation.
Difficulty Wearing Contact Lenses
Sometimes dry, itchy eyes during pregnancy make it difficult or painful to wear contact lenses. Expectant mothers who experience these symptoms should consider switching to glasses for the time being. The dryness typically subsides within a few weeks of delivery, at which point women can go back to wearing their contacts.
When to Call Your Eye Doctor
You should contact Dr. Belmont if you experience any of the following:
- You have glaucoma and become pregnant or intend to become pregnant – Certain glaucoma medications can be harmful to the fetus and may need to be stopped during pregnancy.
- You have diabetes – If you had diabetes before your pregnancy or you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will need to have your vision monitored very closely. If you experience blurry vision, it may indicate a spike in your blood sugar levels.
- You experience vision loss, sensitivity to light, auras or the appearance of flashing lights – You could be experiencing preeclampsia and should be evaluated by a doctor.
- You experience persistent eye pain, vision loss or discomfort.
For more information about pregnancy’s effect on eye health and vision, please contact Belmont Eye Center today.