Pregnancy hormones can do a lot of weird stuff. (Swollen ankles, anyone?) But did you know that they can impact your vision as well? Don’t fear: these effects typically go away after birth. Pregnancy can temporarily impact your prescription strength, the dryness of your eyes, and puffiness around your eyes. While this shouldn’t be alarming, you should report any vision changes to your eyecare professional.
So, what might you expect when you’re expecting? You may experience the following vision symptoms:
Puffiness Around the Eyes
During pregnancy you may experience puffy eyelids (due to hormonal changes), which can impact your peripheral vision. To help reduce this swelling and minimalize water retention make sure you drink enough water and keep to a moderate diet that is low on caffeine and sodium.
Those hormones can also have a big impact on both the quality and quantity of tears you can produce, leading to a temporary case of dry eye syndrome. Symptoms can be treated with soothing warm compresses, OTC artificial tears, or behind-the-counter drops to treat inflammation if necessary.
Migraines and Light Sensitivity
Pregnancy hormone changes can also lead to migraine headaches and, as a result, sometimes will make your eyes sensitive to the light. If you do get a migraine while pregnant, make sure you consult your doctor before taking any kind of medication—prescription or nonprescription—to alleviate the symptoms.
Spotted or Blurry Vision
Spotted or blurry vision can be the result of several factors during pregnancy. In some instances, blurry or spotted vision can be due to increased blood pressure. While the increase in pressure may stay within an acceptable range, allowing your vision to return to normal after birth, leaving this unchecked can sometimes result in retinal detachment and should, therefore, be closely monitored. In other instances, if you are diabetic prior to becoming pregnant, blurred vision can be a sign of gestational diabetes—which is also something that should be addressed quickly.
Have Glaucoma? See a Doctor NOW
Keep in mind, small changes in your vision should be checked out by an eye care professional, even if they end up going away after you give birth.
If you suffer from glaucoma and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, tell your eyecare professional immediately. While most glaucoma medications are safe to take during pregnancy, some like carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can be harmful to the baby.1
Worried about contact lenses?
Don’t! Contact lenses are perfectly safe to use when pregnant, though if you are suffering from pregnancy-induced dry eyes you may want to try cleaning your lenses with an enzymatic cleaner more often to reduce irritation.2 Another option is to reduce the number of hours you wear your lenses each day.
1. N.A. “Pregnancy and Your Vision.” Prevent Blindness. (https://www.preventblindness.org/pregnancy-and-your-vision) Last accessed 2/20/2020
2. N.A. “Pregnancy and vision: What mothers-to-be need to know.” American Academy of Ophthalmology. (https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/pregnancy-and-vision) Last accessed 2/20/2020