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Hormonal fluctuations as well as changes in metabolism, circulation, and fluid retention that are a part of pregnancy can cause numerous unexpected changes in your body. Your eyes and your vision are no exception. Many of these changes are merely temporary, and will return to normal after you deliver your child. On the other hand, some changes to your vision are abnormal, and could indicate a problem that requires a response. Therefore, it is important to understand which problems are normal or temporary, and which changes merit medical attention.

WHAT VISION CHANGES ARE NORMAL DURING PREGNANCY?

Water retention can cause the thickness or curvature of your cornea to change slightly. It may be a small difference, the degree to which your contact lenses or glasses correct your vision. Since this problem is usually temporary, it is generally not recommended that pregnant women undergo laser surgery or purchase a new prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

Another common and typically temporary condition that women may experience during pregnancy is dry eyes. Dry eyes can be especially uncomfortable for contact lens wearers. Non-prescription rewetting or lubricating drops are safe to use during pregnancy and nursing. If problems persist after pregnancy, consult your optometrist.

You eyelids may also begin to swell during pregnancy. Be sure to drink plenty of water while pregnant, and lower your intake of sodium and caffeine to reduce water retention.

Even though many vision changes during pregnancy are only temporary, it is still wise to contact your doctor even if you experience minor differences from your normal vision.

WHAT VISION CHANGES DURING PREGNANCY REQUIRE MEDICAL ATTENTION?

If you’re experiencing blurred vision accompanied by swelling, headaches, abdominal pain, and rapid weight gain, you may be suffering from preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a serious condition in which blood pressure rises and protein begins to appear in your urine. The condition occurs in approximately five to ten percent of all pregnancies, and can affect the brain, liver, kidneys, and even the placenta. If the disorder is detected early, mothers and children usually suffer no lasting effects.

Sometimes, women who experience blurred vision during pregnancy may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes may develop a condition called macular edema, which is caused by fluid and protein deposits accumulating under the macula of the eye. The subsequent swelling may cause a loss or partial loss of central vision, limiting the eye’s ability to focus. Macular edema can hinder your ability to read and recognize faces. Furthermore, gestational diabetes may cause fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, infections, and elevated thirst. Because many of these symptoms are regarded as typical for pregnant women, it can be difficult to determine whether they are normal or should be regarded as a sign of gestational diabetes. The condition, however, poses a significant threat to your health as well as the health of your baby, so be sure to consult your doctor if you suspect any possible symptoms.

If you’re experiencing any changes in vision during pregnancy, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced optometrist as soon as possible. Contact Silverstein Eye Care Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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  1. […] vision at greater risk. Patients with diabetes or hypertension, hereditary conditions, or who are pregnant should be especially careful about properly caring for their eyes. Conditions that affect eye […]



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