Pregnancy definitely can affect the eyes. It is a time of hormone fluctuations, blood circulation changes, and fluid retention. Together, these things can produce a variety of changes to the eyes. Some changes are minor and temporary, but others can be more serious.
Have you noticed that your eyes are feeling a little more gritty than usual or that they at times sting or water? Have you noticed you can’t wear your contacts as long as you could before you were pregnant? If so, your eyes may be dry.
For our eyes to feel comfortable, they need a thin layer of tears covering them. The amount of tears that our eyes produce (and the quality of those tears) can be influenced a lot by hormonal fluctuations. The best way to initially treat dryness is to use Artificial Tears. These eye drops provide soothing lubrication and are not medicated. They’re very safe for you and your baby and no prescription is necessary. Just be careful to get the Artificial Tears. There are other drops out there that contain medicines that might not be best for your baby. If you have questions about any drops, email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most common changes in vision with pregnancy are due to fluid retention. The front layer of your eye, called the cornea, can become thicker as it retains water. This can change your glasses prescription slightly. The good news is that most often, things revert back to normal after pregnancy or after breastfeeding. Since this problem is usually temporary, most of the time we will not prescribe a change in your glasses but will wait to see how things are after your baby gets here.
That being said, changes in vision should not be ignored. Blurry vision can be a sign of preeclampsia or eclampsia, which can be life threatening to both mom and the baby. Most of the time, there will be other warning signs that your obstetrician will have picked up on, but it is still important to get things checked out if you’ve noticed changes in your vision.
Also, just because your pregnant doesn’t meant you’re immune to eye conditions that are unrelated to pregnancy. Any of my patients, pregnant or not, that have sudden changes to their vision should come in right away to have their eyes checked.
Bottom line, if you’ve noticed changes to your vision… get your eyes checked out.
If you have Type 1 or 2 Diabetes, I’m sure you’re aware that your eyes are at risk for retinal damage. Unfortunately, this risk increases when you become pregnant. Because or this increased risk, the American Academy of Ophthalmologists recommends a pre-pregnancy dilated eye exam for diabetics. Afterwards, another dilated exam should be done again in the first trimester. If you’re diabetic and haven’t had these exams, don’t panic, just schedule an eye exam. It’s better late than never and your doctor will just be glad you came when you did.
If you want more information on the damage that diabetes can do to the eyes, here’s a link from diabetes.ca.
If you have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (and don’t normally have diabetes), the above paragraph does not apply. You are not at risk for the same retinal damage. You may, however, experience more fluctuations in your glasses prescription.
If you have any questions, email me at email@example.com or make an appointment by calling 780-467-2145.
And don’t forget: a baby’s first eye exam is recommended at 6 months old.