How does pregnancy affect your vision?
4 November 2016
Morning sickness, weight gain, back pain…
These are common symptoms of pregnancy. But did you know pregnancy can affect your vision as well?
A woman’s body goes through extraordinary changes during pregnancy. Some of them, like changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention and blood circulation, can have an effect on your eyes! Below are some of the most common vision-related changes women see during pregnancy.
Pregnant Women Can Experience Blurry Vision
Due to fluid retention (a common side effect of pregnancy) the thickness and shape of the cornea can change slightly, causing blurred or distorted vision. Usually the change is minor but if your vision is significantly altered, talk to your doctor. If you have glasses or contacts and the change in your vision is severe, your prescription may need to be changed. This is usually unnecessary, however, as your cornea will return to its normal shape after you’ve had your baby.
Expect Dry Eyes During Pregnancy
It’s normal for your eyes to feel a bit more dry, tired or irritated during pregnancy. Wearing contact lenses, especially for longer periods of time, can be a bit more uncomfortable for expectant mothers. If you are experiencing dry eyes, consult with your eye care provider about artificial tears that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Vision Disturbances May Be A Sign Of Preeclampsia
Issues with your vision during pregnancy may be a sign of a more serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and usually occurs after the 20 week mark. Signs of preeclampsia can show up in your eyes, such as:
- Temporary loss of vision
- Light sensitivity
- Blurry or double vision
- Seeing spots or flashing lights
If you experience any of these more severe vision disturbances, contact your doctor immediately.
Diabetes Can Affect Vision, Especially During Pregnancy
Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible and throughout their pregnancy as recommended. This is because women who have diabetes during pregnancy may have a rapid onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy, a disease that causes damage to the small blood vessels that supply the retina of the eye. If you have diabetes and are planning to conceive, talk to your doctor and eye care provider.