Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and expectant (pun intended) times of a woman's life. There's nursery furniture to buy, names to pick out, and baby showers to be had. But in all of this excitement, some not-so-fun changes are happening as well.
The new mom may be very much delighted as she awaits her little one's arrival, but her body is also going through some challenges during this time. Sure, we all know about the struggles of swollen ankles and fatigue, but what about changes to a pregnant woman's eyesight?
This may be a new concept to you as you learn how pregnancy can impact a woman's vision from blurry sight to sensitivities to light. But don't worry, these changes are usually temporary during pregnancy!
Find out what are normal eyesight changes during pregnancy and when you should consult your doctor with these 10 ways pregnancy can affect vision.
10 Increased Sensitivity To Light
You don't have to be pregnant to know bright lights hurt your eyes. However, pregnant women are more susceptible to bright lights due to headaches and migraines caused by changes in hormones. These hormone-induced headaches can increase a woman's sensitivity to light much like regular headaches.
It's also said pregnancy can cause eyes to become more sensitive to light, which can result in women getting headaches. But don't worry too much as sunglasses with a special coating can reflect sunlight, which can help reduce the chances of light-induced headaches for some women.
9 Existing Conditions Can Become More Severe
Pregnancy can cause near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or other conditions such as glaucoma to worsen. Some women find their prescription glasses or contact lenses to not be strong enough during pregnancy, but changing your prescription at this time is not recommended. This is a temporary change in vision that should return to normal after pregnancy. However, it is recommended to inform your doctor of any vision changes during pregnancy, even if it's just with prescription glasses or contact strength.
8 Dry And Itchy Eyes
A reduction in tear production can cause pregnant women to suffer from dry and itchy eyes. This can make wearing contacts uncomfortable for some pregnant women. Of course, simple solutions such as using eye drops and switching to prescription glasses instead of contact lenses during pregnancy can help in this situation.
7 Seeing 'Spots'
Seeing spots can potentially indicate a more serious health risk such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. This includes seeing flashes, auras, or seeing double.
While this may seem like an extreme and frightening situation, it's said to be caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy with vision returning to normal postpartum. However, because it may also be a sign of something more serious, women should immediately contact their doctor if seeing spots or double while pregnant.
6 Risk Factors For Preeclampsia Can Impair Vision
Because issues with vision can be indicators of more severe health complications, such as preeclampsia, it's important for pregnant women to inform their doctor of any changes. High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia with warning signs including blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and seeing bursts of light.
5 Vision May Be Affected By Gestational Diabetes
Women who suffer from diabetes either before pregnancy or develop it during, which is called gestational diabetes, are at risk for vision impairment. Diabetes in pregnant women can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye, according to experts. Blurry vision during pregnancy may be a sign of gestational diabetes and women who experience any vision changes are recommended to contact their doctor. Gestational diabetes is temporary, but can be serious if not diagnosed.
4 Retaining Water Behind The Eyes Can Change Its Shape
As previously mentioned, changes to the cornea can impair vision during pregnancy. This can make prescription glasses and contact lenses not as effective. Because of this, it is not recommended to be evaluated for eye surgery or new vision prescriptions while pregnant.
It may sound scary to hear your cornea may change shape and enlarger during pregnancy, professionals assure women it is perfectly normal. Many associate swollen feet and ankles with pregnancy, but may be surprised to learn all parts of the body can swell, including the eye area.
3 Puffiness Around Eyes And Eyelids
It may not be as surprising to learn pregnancy can lead to the eye area becoming swollen with water retention. However, this includes puffy eyelids, which can impact a pregnant woman's peripheral vision. It's recommended expecting moms cut back on sodium and keep up their water intake to reduce swelling.
Puffy eyes may be uncomfortable and hinder vision to a degree, but they are not associated with any serious medical condition. Of course, expectant mothers are always recommended to consult their doctors with any vision changes or concerns.
2 Talk To Your Doctor If You're Taking Medications For Glaucoma
It's reported pregnancy may help women who suffer from glaucoma as some expecting mothers experience a decrease in eye pressure. However, for women who do have glaucoma, taking medications during pregnancy may be unsafe for the baby.
It's important to consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist before getting pregnant to find the best plan for you and your impending little one. It's also worth noting glaucoma medications are said to not be safe for breastfeeding mothers as the baby will be exposed to the medication through the milk.
1 Temporary Changes In Hormones
Pregnancy hormones can have a larger impact on an expecting mother, including her eyesight. Hormones are attributed to a lot during pregnancy, and this includes changes in vision. Because these hormones can cause swelling in the eyes, as already mentioned, it can change its shape.
Hormones also can cause refractive changes, which means eyeglasses and contact lenses prescription are altered. However, this is only temporary so no need to go update your prescription as your eyesight should return to normal after birth.