Vision Problems In Expectant Mothers
Whether you are pregnant for the first time or the fifth time, those 9 months leading up to birth are full of many physical changes. Let’s face it your body is held hostage by your hormones. While changes such as nausea, anxiety, weight gain are generally attributed to pregnancy, the ability to see clearly can also be affected by it.
Yes, your vision can also change during pregnancy. According to a study done by the American optometric association, 1 in 6 new moms experienced vision changes during pregnancy. So, how can vision be affected by pregnancy? When you are pregnant your hormones are like a rollercoaster ride and your body goes through huge transformations, these changes can also impact your eyesight. Fortunately, most of these changes are mild and resolve in the blink of an eye after delivery. However, sometimes these vision changes can be a sign of other serious health problems in the pregnancy.
Before we talk about some of these vision changes in detail, it’s important to mention that you should continue regular eye care while you are pregnant. During pregnancy, an eye professional can safely dilate your eyes to examine them. Also, let your eye doctor know any pre-existing conditions you have, like glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Mom to be has dry eyes
Pregnancy related hormones can change the quality and reduce the amount of tear production. (Which can seem a bit ironic, as the hormones certainly don’t reduce crying!) When changes in tear production happen, it leads to the dry eye syndrome. This disorder prevents proper lubrication on the surface of your eye. The dry eye syndrome starts with itchiness and leads to a burning and stinging sensation.
The reason dry eye syndrome happens during pregnancy is because in the upper and lower eyelid margins are tiny lubricating glands ( Meibomian glands) that are affected by a lower than usual level of hormone, called androgen. This leads to a decrease in oil production in the glands to keep the eyes moist. Which causes dryness. On the contrary, some women produce excessive tears as a reflex but these are poor quality tears. These poor quality tears do not help with lubrication.
There are several ways to treat dry eye syndrome in pregnancy.
- There are many brands of artificial tear drops that will provide relief.
- Warm compresses work great also. They stimulate the glands and increase the blood flow which leads to an increase in oil production.
- A procedure called punctal occlusion. This is done by a professional eye doctor. The doctor plugs your tear duct by blocking small openings in the corner of the eyes, called puncta. That prevents the tears from draining and increases the tears for the front part of the eye thereby lubricating it.
Refractive changes Vision Problems In Expectant Mothers
“My hands and feet are so swollen,” is a phrase often heard from pregnant women. Rightly so, as there is a lot of fluid retention in the body during a pregnancy. This is again due to fluctuating hormones. This also affects the fluid pressure in the eyeball and makes the cornea of the eye thicker. This can cause a refractive change. It is a deviation in the way our eyes bend to refract light. This is responsible for a poor blurry vision.
If the changes cause a minor change in the strength of contact lens or glasses, the eye doctor prefers to wait several weeks after delivery to prescribe new strengths. As the vision may go back to normal soon after delivery.
If a woman is experiencing discomfort due to blurred vision in pregnancy, several measures can be taken.
- Don’t wear the contacts instead wear glasses. Your cornea shape has changed therefore your lenses may fit incorrectly.
- Your eye doctor can give you great eye exercises to help you focus better.
- Sleep and rest your eyes. Avoid too much screen time.
Increased sensitivity to light in pregnancy
It is also common for women to get migraine headaches during pregnancy. Again this is due to all the hormonal changes. Migraines are accompanied by photophobia. That is a sensitivity to light.
The eye doctor can prescribe medications that are safely taken for migraines during pregnancy. Also wear sunglasses when out and keep your lights off whenever possible at home.
Sometimes vision changes in a pregnancy is a sign of something more serious going on in the body. A blurred vision may be a sign of high sugar levels or gestational diabetes.
Women that have a diabetes diagnosis before their pregnancy, will have to be monitored very carefully. Diabetes can make vision worse during a pregnancy. In order to avoid diabetic retinopathy, one should regularly follow up with the eye doctor, during pregnancy. Diabetic retinopathy can damage the retina of the eyes and cause blindness.
Blurry vision, loss of vision, sensitivity to light, seeing auras can also be a sign of high blood pressure during pregnancy. So blood pressure must be monitored carefully. Preeclampsia is a very high blood pressure in pregnancy that can also cause damage to major organs in the body as well as to the retina of the eye.
Our eyes have clear fluid in them that circulate continuously. This provides pressure. Women that have glaucoma and are pregnant must consult with their eye doctor for any possible adjustments needed in their medications. During pregnancy, the pressure of the eye can decrease a bit needing adjustment to the medication.
If you notice a change in color in the pigmentation of your eyelids, it’s a normal event during pregnancy. It is called melasma. Do not worry as they will fade away slowly after delivery.
Is it possible to prevent vision problems during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent vision problems during pregnancy. However, you can prepare for it. Have several pairs of glasses. Keep pregnancy safe lubricating drops available. It might also be a great idea to avoid driving when your vision is not clear. As mentioned before most vision problems will go away soon after your bundle of joy arrives!
Take care of your eyes during pregnancy. Vision Problems In Expectant Mothers
Your immunity tends to get lower during pregnancy. That’s because it is busy protecting the little miracle inside of you. However, that means your eyes might be more susceptible to infections. Therefore it is very important to eat healthy food and get a lot of rest as well. Remember to keep hydrated. Eat fruits, nuts, green veggies, fish high in omega content. You have to take care of your body including your eyes.