Pregnancy and Your Eyes

pregnant woman, cute, pregnancy-5200901.jpgA woman goes through many changes emotionally and physically when she is pregnant. Many people may not realize the changes that can occur to the eyes and vision specifically.

Pregnant women experience hormone variations, which leads to changes in blood flow, immunology and heart function. Regarding the eyes, elevated hormone levels can lead to problems focusing on near objects and fluctuations in spectacle prescription. Luckily, these changes are usually temporary, but this is why laser vision correction is not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy can also induce dry eye, which causes symptoms such as burning, grittiness, itching, redness and/or tearing. Artificial tears can help to minimize these symptoms. Furthermore, since contact lenses aggravate dry eyes, some women may need to discontinue contact lens wear temporarily or switch to a material that is more suited for dry eye conditions.

The biggest risk for vision problems occurs in pregnant women who have diabetes. Pregnancy can increase the progression of diabetic retinopathy, which is a sight- threatening eye disease that can occur in people with diabetes. Rigid control of blood sugar levels is crucial for the baby and the mother. Gestational diabetes (diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy) does not normally cause diabetic retinopathy.

Not all women will experience issues with their eyes when they are pregnant. Most pregnancy-related vision changes return to normal several months after delivery. If you have any concerns regarding the affect that pregnancy is having on your eyes, see your optometrist for a complete eye examination.