Women's Healthcare Topics

Can my Vision Change during Pregnancy?

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Blurry Vision is Common in Pregnancy

If you have always had perfect vision, you may experience a strange sensation when you're pregnant. Your vision may start to blur, and you may feel like you need glasses to see well.

Your blurred vision is caused by the same build-up of fluids that cause bloating and swelling in your ankles. Because your lens and cornea may thicken during pregnancy, the pressure of the fluid inside your eyeballs may also change. All of these changes cause your vision to blur. Fortunately, your blurry vision will go away after you deliver your baby. Your vision will most likely return to normal within six weeks after your baby is born.

While vision changes are common during pregnancy, it can also be a sign of pregnancy-inducted hypertension. You will want to report any blurred vision that you're experiencing with your doctor. He or she will need to assess your condition.

Vision Changes and Hypertension

Learn about the normal vision changes seen in pregnancy.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy can put you and your baby's health at risk. The risk of harm ranges from mild to severe. If you suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy, you are at higher risk for health problems, including stroke, kidney failure and damage, seizures, organ damage, and breathing problems. Hypertension may also cause you to go into premature labor (or labor that starts before 37 weeks). In addition, your developing baby may have problems growing in the womb (a condition called "intrauterine growth restriction.").

Because of the potential complications that may occur with pregnancy hypertension, your pregnancy will be monitored closely.

In some cases of high blood pressure during pregnancy, you may be placed on full bed rest for a certain period of time or until you deliver. Unfortunately, in other cases, the only cure for hypertension during pregnancy is delivery. Your baby may be delivered early to protect his or her health, or your own health.

Dry Eyes

In addition to blurred vision, another irritating symptom that you may notice in the second trimester is the emergence of dry eyes. If you wear contacts, you may find this pregnancy symptom quite annoying, since it can make wearing contacts uncomfortable.

Having dry eyes during pregnancy is a common occurrence, and experts believe that hormonal fluctuations are to blame. Pregnancy hormones can change the type and amount of tears created, which can leave your eyes dry and not well lubricated.

Dry eyes can be accompanied with burning and itchiness. You may also have the sensation that there's something caught underneath your eyelid. This can make you feel very uncomfortable. Some pregnant women with dry eyes also find that they are more sensitive to light.

In many cases, your dry eyes can be easily remedied with artificial tears (or lubricated eye drops) that are sold over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. You should talk to your doctor about his or her suggestions on the best eye drops for your situation. (Most over-the-counter eye drop products are safe to use during pregnancy but there may be a few that contain active ingredients that may be unsafe for expectant mothers.)

How to Cope with Dry Eyes

Fortunately, your eyes will return to normal after your baby is born. In the meanwhile, you can cope with dry eyes with the following tips:

  • Limit your time wearing contacts during the day. Wear your eyeglasses instead. Glasses are often more comfortable for dry eyes than contact lenses.

  • Try to avoid staring at a computer screen for an extended period of time. If your job involves you working on a computer, take plenty of eye breaks. When your eyes are glued on a computer screen for too long, you might not blink as often as you normally would, and this can make your eyes drier and more irritated. You may also consider lowering the computer screen level so that it meets your eye level. This may also help.

  • Make sure that you keep your home or work environment moist and humid. Invest in a humidifier.


Doctor's Corner

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