Pregnancy brings about many changes to the mother’s body, but some of them are not as obvious or expected as the telltale baby bump. An expectant mother’s eyes and vision can change during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, or if she had fertility treatments, and seeing an eye doctor is just as important as the OB-GYN. Expectant mothers may have heard myths that seeing an eye doctor during pregnancy can even be harmful. Nothing is further from the truth. Impacts and effects of pregnancy on a mother’s eyes range from mere nuisances to serious, potential life-threatening complications that need to be monitored and treated. Most pregnancy-related eye conditions will go away after delivery or breast feeding. Consult your eye doctor immediately, if you sense any of the following symptoms.
Pregnant women often experience dry eyes. Dry eyes are a nuisance that can be easily dealt with through the use of artificial tears or eye drops. For women who wear contacts, it can be particularly uncomfortable. If you do wear contacts, make sure your contacts allow for the use of artificial tears or other eye drops.
Swelling of the corneas
Fluid retention is common in pregnant women and this can cause swelling of the corneas. An expectant mother may experience blurry vision, and contact wearers may find it impossible to wear their lenses because the shape of their cornea is now different. Like most conditions discussed here, it is usually temporary.
Increased sensitivity to light during pregnancy can cause migraines, auras or flashing lights. These are temporary.
Pregnant women may notice vision (refraction) changes and this can be of greater risk for several reasons. Pregnant women who already have diabetes or who develop gestational diabetes have greater chance of vision changes. Women who had fertility treatments, or who have high blood pressure or glaucoma also have a higher chance of vision problems during pregnancy. Some women say their vision improved while pregnant.
Nonetheless, vision changes should be reported to your eye doctor immediately. Preeclampsia is a very serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can progress rapidly and can result in high blood pressure and organ damage. It happens only in pregnant women, but can also impact the unborn baby. Vision changes are one symptom and should never be overlooked. See your eye doctor at once or even go to the emergency room for sudden vision changes.
Seeing an eye doctor while you are pregnant is not only safe, it is important to your and your baby’s health.