It’s all about hormones

Some people say that pregnancy can bring about forgetfulness in the expecting mothers. These are actually true, due to the hormonal changes that are going on during pregnancy. The flood of hormones affect the spatial memory, making you forgetful. During pregnancy, the eyes can also be affected by these changes in hormones, blood circulation, metabolism and fluid retention. These are only temporary and should go back to normal after you give birth. If they worsen during pregnancy, or do not return to normal afterwards, consult an optometrist.

What to Expect when you’re expecting

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are common during pregnancy. Artificial tears can be used to treat and lubricate dry eyes, but check with your eye doctor to ensure the solution is safe for your baby. Ordinary artificial tears have preservatives that can have negative effects on soft contact lenses, so make sure you only use one that’s recommended by an optometrist.

Blurred Vision

Water retention not only causes your feet and ankles to swell up, but it can also change the thickness and curvature of your cornea, resulting in blurry or distorted vision. It’s usually minor, but it can affect the fit of your contact lenses or how your glasses correct your eyesight. This condition usually goes away after pregnancy and breastfeeding, and your cornea will revert back to it’s original shape.

Ruptured Blood Vessels of the Eye

Morning sickness can also affect your eyes. Violent vomiting has been known to rupture the thin blood vessels of the eyes, causing blood to be trapped in the eye leading to temporary vision impairment. This condition usually normalizes on it’s own without treatment, but in some cases, the blood needs to be drained from the affected eye. If you are experiencing frequent morning sickness, consult your doctor.

Improved Glaucoma Symptoms

In some cases, glaucoma symptoms seem to improve during pregnancy, and your doctor may need to adjust your medication. If you have glaucoma and are planning to have a baby, you should talk to your doctor about your medication. This will allow them to adjust the dosage in a way that is safe for you and your baby.

Serious Conditions

Preeclampsia

Sudden changes in your vision may be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious problem that unfortunately occurs in 5% – 8% of pregnancies. The presence of protein in the urine and high blood pressure are precursors to preeclampsia.

If you experience sudden sensations of flashing lights, spots, auras, blurry vision and sensitivity to light, call your doctor and head to the hospital immediately. This is a serious condition that cannot wait until the next morning.

Gestational Diabetes

This is another serious pregnancy-related condition that may cause vision problems, particularly blurred vision. High blood sugar levels can damage the thin, small blood vessels that supply blood to the retina, and this condition seems to be magnified during pregnancy.

Although this type of diabetes is temporary and only occurs during pregnancy, it’s serious enough that you have to be closely monitored by your doctor to ensure your blood sugar levels won’t spike up.

Parting Thoughts

Vision problems during pregnancy are not a myth. If you’re pregnant and are experiencing any type of vision issues, consult your healthcare provider immediately and schedule a checkup. It’s always better to be safe, especially in the most magical and important journey of your life.

Congratulations to all the moms-to-be, from the VU team.

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