PREGNANCY AND EYE HEALTH: THE FACTS

Posted 3 months ago by Poppy Cooper

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DOES PREGNANCY AFFECT VISION?

With the news of our Director and Principal Optometrist Danielle Winstone (née Ross) expecting her first baby, it seems fitting to chat about the changes that women go through during pregnancy, and why these occur. We all hear about the typical changes that happen such as morning sickness (ugh!), weight gain, and all the other joys of pregnancy. However, many women are unaware that their vision can also see noticeable affects from pregnancy.

Pregnancy causes all parts of the body to change, grow and the eyes are no exception! With all the changes that are happening, it can be overwhelming when they start to all happen at once. 

Whether you're a soon to be mum or trying to get pregnant, it is important to look at how pregnancy affects eyesight, and what you can do to alleviate and relieve any symptoms, if they do occur. We want to give you that extra bit of peace of mind during your pregnancy, and know what to look out for! 

How does pregnancy affect vision?

With pregnancy, hormones change, which have a variety of effects on the female body. It is extremely common for women to experience changes in their vision, whether it be slightly blurred vision, or a noticeable flare up of existing eye conditions.

It is important to note that it is COMPLETELY normal to notice changes in your vision, however it is always recommended to see your optometrist if these changes are having a big impact on your everyday life.

Blurred vision. One of the most common symptoms that women notice during pregnancy is that their vision can become slightly blurred, or not as clear as it was pre-pregnancy. Don’t stress, this is OK. When women become pregnant, hormones are heightened which evidently lead to fluid retention (the excess build up of fluid in your body).

What does this mean for eyes? Well, fluid retention can cause the shape of the cornea to become thicker which results in pressure on the eyeball affecting the way in which you see. Blurred or hazy vision should correct itself after pregnancy, once hormones begin to balance again. 

How does pregnancy affect existing eye conditions?

It is also normal for pregnant women to see a flare up of existing eye conditions, due to the increase and changing hormones in the body. 

Dry Eye. Dry eye is an eye condition where the tear ducts are not able to provide enough lubrication to the eye causing symptoms such as irritated, red, stingy and gritty eyes. It is common for dry eye to occur during pregnancy and through to the breast feeding stage.

If dry eye does begin to flare up during your pregnancy, there are a variety of over the counter treatments that are available that can control and relieve the symptoms.

Hot and cold eye compresses, eye drops and omega 3 supplements are all recommended treatment options for dry eye and are 100% suitable for pregnant women to use. To view our range of dry eye treatments click here.

Contact lenses can become irritating to wear when suffering from dry eye, so chat to your optometrist if this does become an issue as suitable eye drops and ointments can be prescribed to help relieve whilst still enabling you to wear contact lenses.

Glaucoma. For women who have been previously diagnosed with glaucoma and are taking medications, it is important that you have a consultation with either your optometrist or ophthalmologist to receive advice on what medications are safe to be taken during pregnancy. It's important though to not change or stop your glaucoma medication until you've spoken with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Diabetic Retinopathy. For those women who have already been diagnosed with diabetes prior to pregnancy, it is extremely important that you visit the optometrist during pregnancy to monitor your eye health. The chances of a diabetic retinopathy diagnosis increases when women are pregnant, so it is recommended that in the first trimester of pregnancy, that you get screened.  

Top tips for maintaining good eye health during pregnancy

  • Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle
  • Fill your plate with lots of green veggies 
  • Try omega 3 supplements (these are GREAT for eye health) and safe for pregnant women!
  • Stay well rested

If you notice any changes to your vision or eye health, it is important that you consult your optometrist or doctor immediately, to ensure everything is on track. 

At OCULA, our optometrists work with you to ensure that you feel relaxed and have peace of mind with your vision during pregnancy. We are here to help if you have any concerns, or any questions. Book an appointment with one of our specialised optometrists here.  

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