Many women are not aware of the vision changes that occur during pregnancy besides morning sickness, food cravings, and hormonal surges. The increasing hormones of a pregnant woman affect tissue and organs including the eyes.
The vision changes are not that serious and will subside after delivery but some cases have raised a serious problem.
The most common eye changes in pregnancy include:
Blurry vision and dry eyes. The quality and amount of tear production are affected by the level of hormones present during pregnancy that leads to dry eye syndrome. The Meibomian glands which are responsible for lubricating are affected by low levels of androgen temporarily. Warm compresses and over-the-counter artificial tears can help in treating symptoms of dry eyes.
Refractive changes occur because water retention during pregnancy changes how eyes refract light. Refractive errors can be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. Quickly after childbirth, vision is expected to return to its normal state.
Migraines have a common symptom which is sensitivity to light called photophobia. Simple measures such as wearing sunglasses or turning the lights off are recommended.
Signal of Danger in Vision Change
Eyes can give warning signs for preeclampsia or dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. The two cardinal symptoms of preeclampsia are hypertension and proteinuria.
The eye symptoms that can be present include blurred vision, flashing light, floaters, inability to focus eyes, and temporary blindness. Retinal swelling and bleeding may occur.
Pregnant women with diabetes are monitored because pregnancy contributes to worsening existing eye problems. The signs of Diabetic retinopathy include blurry vision, floaters, fluctuating vision, and impaired color vision.
Retinal detachment is a rare but serious complication of diabetes that needs immediate attention.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that can also cause blurry vision. It occurs during pregnancy but later on disappears after childbirth.
Eye pressure can change throughout the day but during pregnancy, it decreases.
Caring for Eyes During Pregnancy
Dry eyes occur during pregnancy and wearing contact lenses can be irritating. Artificial tears can provide good lubrication for the eyes. LASIK is a refractive eye surgery that is not recommended by doctors during pregnancy. Six months postpartum are advised in the time frame before doing the surgery.
Refractive changes that occur throughout pregnancy are only temporary and expected to come back to normal after delivery. It is important to stay hydrated and take healthy foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish that are high in omega-3.