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How Vision Can Change During Pregnancy

Vision Changes Pregnancy The myth about eye exams during pregnancy
It is often said that it is unsafe for a woman to have her eyes dilated for an eye exam during pregnancy, but this is absolutely untrue! Not only is it completely safe to have a comprehensive eye exam while pregnant, it is even recommended! Pregnancy, especially the resulting hormonal changes, can cause vision changes that may need to be monitored or treated by a physician.

Conditions that increase your risk of vision changes
If you have diabetes (including gestational diabetes), high blood pressure, or glaucoma, you are more likely to experience vision changes during your pregnancy. The same is true if you have taken fertility treatments.

Vision changes that may occur
Vision changes you may experience during pregnancy include:

  • Dry eyes - may make contact lenses uncomfortable. Can be treated with eye drops.

  • Corneal swelling - can make it difficult or impossible to wear contacts, but will likely subside after delivery or breast feeding.

  • Prescription changes - your refractive error might change during pregnancy. You may require a new prescription if you wear glasses or contacts. This change may be temporary, but it may also be permanent. If you do need a new prescription during your pregnancy, you will need to be reexamined after delivery or breast feeding to see if the new prescription is still right for you.

  • Sensitivity to light - caused by hormone-triggered migraine headaches

Good vision for mom and baby after birth
Remember that your actions during pregnancy can influence the health of your unborn baby, including his or her eyesight. Babies of mothers who smoked, drank alcohol, or took drugs during pregnancy have a higher risk of vision problems including lazy eye (amblyopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), and refractive errors.

One more thing to keep in mind: if you usually wear contact lenses only during the day, you may want to switch to extended wear contacts once the baby is born. Those middle-of-the-night feedings will go a lot smoother if you're not fumbling around in the dark for your glasses.

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