Pregnancy is an exciting time for women. We notice our body undergoing several changes. Hormonal fluctuations affect all parts of our body, including our eyes. Most women that come to my office do not experience any visual changes during their pregnancy. Of the small percentage of patients that do, most complain about dry eyes. Their chief complaint is decreased comfort when wearing contact lenses. My recommendation is to lubricate with eye drops more frequently and, if that doesn’t help, to wear glasses instead. During pregnancy, the cornea can thicken due to fluid buildup and causes changes in focusing ability. Those who are farsighted become less farsighted, and those who are nearsighted become more nearsighted. This is a rare condition, however, I always stress to my patients that this condition is not always permanent. Vision typically will return to normal after delivery or at the end of nursing, so there may not be an immediate need to change the prescription of the contact lenses or glasses.... unless, of course, the patient does not feel comfortable functioning with the current prescription.
It’s very important for those who are diagnosed with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam to ensure there are no retinal changes. Diabetic retinopathy, which results from the damage to the retinal blood vessels, is a serious condition that I am especially concerned about in those with pre-existing diabetes. Those who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are also encouraged to have a dilated exam.
Certain eye symptoms can be a flag for more serious systemic conditions. Those with high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia can experience temporary loss of vision, blurry vision, spots in vision, double vision, eye pain or swelling around the eye.
It is crucial to call your doctor if you experience ANY visual changes during pregnancy regardless of your medical history.