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Have things gotten a little blurry since you've been pregnant? Vision-related changes are fairly common during pregnancy and aren't serious in most cases. You may be more likely to develop one or more of these 6 vision issues while you're expecting.
Changes to Your Eyeglass and Contact Lens Prescription
Changing hormone levels and retained fluids can cause subtle changes in your eyes that make the world a little blurry, even if you wear contact lenses or eyeglasses. Although your vision will probably return to normal soon after your baby is born, it's always a good idea to pay a visit to your optometrist when you notice a change in vision. If the changes are dramatic or cause other symptoms, such as headaches or eyestrain, you may need a new prescription.
Water retention may also cause puffiness in your eyelids. Cool tea bags, cucumber slices, or a chilled eye mask can reduce puffiness. Salty foods and caffeinated drinks can make puffiness worse and should be avoided.
Hormonal changes can affect your tear film, leaving your eyes dry and itchy. The dryness may make it a challenge to wear contact lenses, at least during the first few months of your pregnancy. Artificial tears and warm compresses can increase moisture and improve comfort. If you wear contact lenses, you may find that frequent application of re-wetting solution helps decrease dryness. Before using any lubricating or re-wetting solution, make sure it's safe to use during pregnancy.
Light Sensitivity Due to Migraines
Migraines may become more frequent during your pregnancy as your hormone levels fluctuate. As a result, you may notice that you're more sensitive to light. Although retreating to a completely dark room may seem like the best idea, the strategy may actually increase your discomfort when you finally have to emerge from your haven. Dimming lights and gradually increasing your light exposure may be a better idea. You may also want to ask your eye doctor about glasses with FL-41 filters. The rose-colored glasses can decrease light sensitivity and may even reduce the number of migraines you experience.
Blurred Vision Related to Diabetes
Blurred vision can occur whether you have Type 1 or 2 diabetes or have developed gestational diabetes. The change is your vision is a warning sign that should never be ignored. Blurriness occurs when the clear lens in the center of your eyes swells due to high blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar drops too low, you may experience double vision.
Preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication, occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. You may be diagnosed with the condition if you suddenly develop high blood pressure and you have protein in your urine. Symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headaches, shortness of breath, swelling in the hands and face, pain in the upper right abdomen, decreased urination, and nausea and vomiting. The condition can also affect your vision, causing:
25 to 50 percent of women who develop preeclampsia experience visual symptoms, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you notice any symptoms of preeclampsia, call your OB/GYN immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Without prompt treatment, the condition can cause serious, potentially life-threatening complications for you and your baby.
Protecting your vision is particularly important during your pregnancy. If you notice a new vision problem or the worsening of an existing issue, call our office to schedule an appointment.
American Migraine Foundation: Photophobia - What Is It? Can It Be Treated?, 9/22/16
Baby Center: Vision Changes During Pregnancy, 8/17
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Ocular Changes During Pregnancy
Prevent Blindness America: Pregnancy and Your Vision
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