Three Ways Pregnancy Impacts Your Vision
One area where hormonal changes might cause the most noticeable changes is in your vision. The most common eye and vision issues experienced during pregnancy can be dry and itchy eyes, blurriness, or light sensitivity. Symptoms vary for everyone, and what might be a minor annoyance for one individual might cause severe visual problems for another.
1. Blurry Vision
Just like you feel it in your ankles and feet, hormonal changes cause fluid buildup throughout the body during pregnancy, your eyes included. Water retention causes fluid build-up that increases the internal pressure of your eye, distorting the natural curvature of the lens.
This change in shape causes blurry vision. While you may experience general blurriness, difficulty focusing on objects, or a loss of peripheral vision can also occur.
Changes in hormones during pregnancy are known to reduce your natural tear production. This lowered production can cause general discomfort and uncomfortable dry and itchy eyes. Dry eyes can make wearing contact lenses extremely painful, and frequent rubbing increases the risk of causing an abrasion on the eye’s surface.
3. Light Sensitivity
The alteration to your eyes’ shape caused by fluid retention not only causes blurred vision but can change how light enters the eye. Just the most minor change can make you more sensitive to light. Even in settings where it usually wouldn’t be cause for concern, you might find yourself squinting or experiencing headaches and ocular migraines.
How to Cope With Vision Changes
Most common eye symptoms can be helped by not putting your eyes under undue stress. Light sensitivity, blurriness, and dryness can all be reduced through some simple steps:
- Make sure you are reading with plenty of light
- Wear sunglasses when driving or working outdoors in bright sunlight
- Take frequent rests when doing computer work (use the 20-20-20 rule by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes of work)
- Try to blink more often
If you have prescription contact lenses, swapping to glasses can give some relief from blurry vision and itchiness. However, unless the change in visual acuity is so pronounced as to make seeing appropriately to work or drive impossible, don’t worry about getting a new pair.
Eye drops can be a big help in dealing with blurry vision and dry or itchy eyes. But before reaching for artificial tears or other over-the-counter treatments, make sure to check with your doctor to ensure the ingredients are safe for you during pregnancy.
When to Call the Doctor
Vision changes are not themselves indicators of a complication during pregnancy. Just keep your regular doctor and ophthalmologist aware of changes as they occur during the pregnancy.
However, if eye symptoms are severe, onset suddenly, or are accompanied by the following additional symptoms, you should promptly speak to your general doctor as you may be at risk of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
- Severe headaches that do not respond to pain relief
- Extreme swelling of your upper extremities and face
- Unusually high thirst
- Persistent floating spots, double vision, loss of eyesight
Eye doctors recommend against any corrective eye treatments during pregnancy and for up to six months after, due to the changes caused by hormonal shifts. If you have existing eye conditions or your vision does change significantly enough to impede safe driving, speak to your eye doctor. You may require temporary glasses or a change to your prescription.
Asheville Vision and Wellness
If you are planning for pregnancy and want to be prepared or are currently experiencing changes to your vision caused by pregnancy and are seeking eye care in Buncombe County, make Asheville Vision and Wellness your preferred choice. We have provided Asheville and the greater area of Western North Carolina with the best care and latest technology available since 1989.
Schedule an appointment for a regular eye exam today to discuss issues you may be having with pregnancy-related dryness, visual acuity, photosensitivity, or irritation.