To all expectant moms — Happy Mother’s Day! You must be thrilled to have another family member on the way. During this delicate period, you must be working extra hard to take care of yourself. After all, you are eating for two. From making sure that your blood pressure is normal to ensuring the optimal health of your teeth, there is another factor that you must add to your healthy pregnancy checklist: Your eyes.
Did you know that 15% of women experience changes in their vision during pregnancy? Changes in hormones, metabolism, blood circulation and fluid retention can affect your overall eye health. In fact, throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, your eyes may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Swollen eyelids
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Spots or flashing lights in your vision
- Blind spots in your vision
One of the most common vision disturbances you might face while pregnant is Corneal Edema, which usually occurs during the third trimester (and reversible postpartum). The cause of this condition may be related to water retention and the slight increase in corneal thickness that may develop from corneal edema, which makes the cornea more sensitive and prone to irritation. Thus, it could affect your usual 20/20 vision or how your glasses and contacts correct your eyesight. Corneal edema is also the reason why laser eye surgery is not recommended during pregnancy, and why it is not advisable to invest in a new pair of glasses or contact lenses.
Additionally, since corneal edema reduces your tolerance to contacts and heightens eye dryness, it is crucial to limit or discontinue your use of prescription contacts altogether, especially if symptoms persist. Instead, keep a pair of comfortable glasses on hand.
Pregnancy may change current eye conditions
Pregnancy may also improve or worsen existing eye conditions. For instance, if you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may experience rapid increase in the progression of diabetic retinopathy while with child. For all diabetics, it is important to see your eye doctor before trying to get pregnant, and again during early pregnancy to get screened for diabetic retinopathy or damage in the blood vessels in your retina. Your eye doctor may also require you to get more regular eye exams during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
In cases of glaucoma, on the other hand, pregnancy may improve the condition. Your eye doctor may even lower the dose of your medication, which reduces your baby’s exposure to drugs.
What to do if you notice changes in your vision
Again, it is highly recommended for all women to get regular eye exams throughout their pregnancy.
Although minor changes such as dryness and blurry vision are symptoms that usually reverse themselves within several months of child delivery, some symptoms may be an indication of a more serious ocular disease. If you think your vision has changed significantly, call Arizona Retinal Specialists at 623-474-3937 (EYES) to schedule an eye exam. Our doctors are among the leading providers the full spectrum eye care and maintenance in Sun City, Arizona and the surrounding areas.