When you are pregnant, there are many doctor visits to go through. Another appointment to add to your list is an eye doctor visit. Pregnancy can impact your vision and eye health in a number of ways, and it’s important to know what is normal and what is not.
How Pregnancy Affects the Eyes
If you recently discovered that you’re pregnant (congratulations!), there are many changes that can take place. Scheduling an eye appointment gives you the opportunity to discuss these symptoms with your ophthalmologist. This way, you can protect your vision and give baby the best start with his or her visual development.
Common eye problems in pregnancy include:
Dry eyes. As your pregnancy progresses, it’s normal to experience dry eye. This happens because your hormones affect tear production. Without this natural lubrication, your eyes can feel dry and uncomfortable. Use artificial tears to decrease symptoms.
Swollen eyes. With your hormone levels changing, you may experience water retention. Holding in more fluid can make the body look swollen, and that includes your eyes. Though you may not like the way this looks, it generally doesn’t signal anything serious.
Blurry vision. Water retention can also cause your eyes to be blurry because the corneas swell. The good news is that once you deliver baby and stop breastfeeding, the cornea will return to its normal size.
Other Conditions Your Ophthalmologist Will Check For
Aside from the more normal eye symptoms that may occur, there are other conditions to be aware of. If your obstetrician suspects or diagnoses the following, you may be encouraged to see your eye doctor as well.
Preeclampsia affects a small percentage of pregnant women and can put both mom and baby at risk. Usually, this condition is diagnosed by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Another sign is eye problems, which includes flashing lights and blurry vision.
Gestational diabetes is another condition that affects some pregnant women. High blood sugar levels can impact the blood vessels leading to the eye, resulting in blurry vision and other complications. If you are at risk for gestational diabetes, work with your obstetrician and eye doctor to protect your eye health.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s a busy one! Be sure to visit your eye physician at least once during your pregnancy so that you can address concerns, discuss changes and receive safe, effective treatment if needed.