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Vision Changes During Pregnancy

By HERWriter
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During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many physical changes. For about half of pregnant women, these changes include changes in vision.

Vision can be affected by a variety of factors including hormone levels, fluid levels, blood circulation and metabolism. During pregnancy, all of these things are in flux, which can produce a variety of changes to ones vision. While most of these changes are temporary, eye care professionals encourage women to get their eyes examined during pregnancy to make sure no problems are developing. Some women are hesitant to have their eyes dilated during pregnancy, but medical professionals agree that it is safe and often desirable to have an eye exam with the eyes dilated while you are expecting.

Possible vision changes during pregnancy include:

Dry eyes – Hormonal changes can make the eyes seem dry and uncomfortable. Rewetting drops may be used to ease the feeling of dryness.

Blurred vision – The retina is the portion of the eye that senses light and sends the image on to the brain. During pregnancy, changes in the retina can cause changes in vision. Many pregnant women perceive that they are more nearsighted (unable to see distant objects clearly) during pregnancy. Other changes can result from variations in fluid retention. Changes in the amount of fluid in and around the eye can cause the eyeball to change shape, which affects how well the lens is able to focus and how clear objects appear. Some women who wear glasses feel the need for a new prescription during pregnancy. Many are able to get along with their old prescription and in most cases, vision returns to pre-pregnancy norms once the baby is born.

Headaches – Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to migraine headaches, which in turn cause sensitivity to light and altered vision. Migraine headaches are one of the most common vision changes experienced during pregnancy.

Many women who wear contact lenses find that their lenses are less comfortable during pregnancy. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including changes to the shape of the cornea due to fluid retention and dry eyes or puffy eyelids caused by hormone changes. Use of rewetting drops can help ease these symptoms. Many women find wearing glasses instead of contacts to be the most comfortable solution to the problem.

Pregnancy can also affect pre-existing conditions that can alter vision:

Diabetes – Diabetes is a disorder that prevents the body from processing sugar correctly. Diabetic patients should be evaluated more frequently for diabetic retinopathy during pregnancy. This condition causes blood vessels in the back of the eye to rupture which can cause permanent vision impairment.

Glaucoma – Patients with glaucoma experience abnormally high pressure inside the eye, which can permanently damage vision. During pregnancy, glaucoma may actually improve. Patients should be evaluated to make sure medications are at appropriate levels during pregnancy. Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking glaucoma medications, as some medications can be bad for your baby.

High blood pressure – If you are prone to high blood pressure, your doctor will monitor it carefully during pregnancy. Let your doctor know right away if you have any visual symptoms associated with high blood pressure, including double vision, blurry vision, light sensitivity, seeing spots or flashing lights, or temporary loss of vision. Excessive high blood pressure can cause damage to the retina.

If you experience any changes to your vision while pregnant, see your eye care professional to rule out any more serious issues that could permanently affect your vision.

Medical News Today
Baby Center
Women’s Healthcare Topics

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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