I was catching up with a girlfriend this week and she shared some very exciting news with me…she’s expecting! The topic of vision changes during pregnancy came up and she suggested that I share my insight on our blog.The most common change I see is blurred vision from refractive (prescription) changes, which is thought to be caused by the changes in hormone levels. The shift in vision is usually towards the more nearsighted spectrum. In most cases, the vision will go back to “normal” a few weeks after delivery.Hormonal changes can also cause puffy/swollen eyelids and dry eyes. The latter may make expecting mothers contact-lens intolerant. Lubricating drops (recommended by your eye doctor) may help, or some choose to wear glasses until a few weeks after delivery.
An increase in blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) can cause symptoms of blurred vision, flashing lights, spots, photophobia, and temporary vision loss. These are similar to what a patient would see with a retinal tear or detachment which can cause permanent vision loss. It is important to see your eye doctor for a dilated eye exam immediately when if you experience these symptoms.
Blurred vision can also be caused by elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy) can cause diabetic retinopathy, so it is important to have your eyes monitored regularly during this time.
In summary, some vision changes are harmless, but others can be sight threatening. If you experience any vision changes during pregnancy, please consult your optometrist!