Most expecting mothers are aware of the fact that they may have morning sickness or back pain. But many pregnant women are surprised when their eyesight changes. The fact is that the hormonal and physical changes which accompany pregnancy can affect vision. Changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention and blood circulation can all affect your eyes and eyesight during pregnancy. Fortunately, such vision problems are usually minor and temporary. Eyesight typically returns to normal after your baby is born. Some vision problems associated with pregnancy may require medical attention. You may find that your eyes are drier and more irritated during pregnancy as well as during the lactation period.Water retention, for instance, may cause the thickness as well as the curvature of the cornea of your eye to increase slightly. It’s a small change, but it could affect how well your glasses or contacts correct your vision. That is why laser eye surgery is not recommended during pregnancy and also new contact lenses should not be fitted around this time. Most women who experience such a change find that they’re a bit more nearsighted than they were before pregnancy.
Pregnancy can also bring about changes in existing eye conditions that can be for better or for worse. If you have diabetes, see an ophthalmologist before you get pregnant and also again in early pregnancy to get tested and screened for possible damage to the blood vessels in the retina. This situation, known as diabetic retinopathy, often worsens during pregnancy, so you’ll need more frequent eye exams while you’re pregnant and in the postpartum period. Glaucoma, on the other hand, sometimes improves during pregnancy, so your medication may need to be adjusted. However, if you have glaucoma and are planning a pregnancy, your doctor may be able to lessen the baby’s exposure to the medication by prescribing you with as low a dose of medication as possible.
Pregnant women who complain of spots in their vision should be taken seriously. These dark spots could be scotoma. Unlike floaters, which move across the visual field and can be normal even for those who aren’t pregnant scotoma are stable and usually involve a larger part of the field of vision. Scotoma can indicate preeclampsia etc. complications during some pregnancies that can cause blood pressure to become hazardously high. Although this can result in unusual visual symptoms, in most cases eye damage is limited and vision returns to normal upon subsiding of the high blood pressure.
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.