Pregnancy & Vision

Women experience a myriad of physical changes during pregnancy such as body tenderness, water retention, and nausea – but few women know about the impacts pregnancy can have on their vision according to the Doctors of Optometry of Canada.

Every mom-to-be experiences hormone fluctuations, but what most don’t know, is that these changes can cause them to develop conditions such as blurred vision and dry eye and severe changes to vision, may be the first sign of a more serious condition such as gestational diabetes.

While pregnant, here are three vision conditions to keep an eye on.

Blurred Vision

Slight vision changes are common for pregnant women to experience. If you notice that your vision has steadily changed or is periodically different, you’re likely experiencing refractive changes caused by fluid retention.

Not to worry, for most women these changes are temporary and return to normal after delivery, but for some, these changes are permanent and may require a trip to a Doctor of Optometry for a new prescription.

Doctors of optometry recommend that women wait between six and nine months after delivery before making changes to their prescription to ensure their eyes have fully adjusted.

Dry Eyes

Stinging, gritty, scratchy and uncomfortable feeling eyes are all common signs of a chronic condition called dry eye.

Hormone fluctuations common during pregnancy can cause a decrease in the production of natural tears, leading to the development of the condition. These symptoms usually dissipate after delivery, but for some women, the condition cannot be cured and will need to be managed with a prescription.

If dry eye is left untreated, it can be harmful and can even lead to tissue damage and scarring that can impair vision.

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, your comfort can be improved by visiting your Doctor of Optometry, who can prescribe artificial tears, gels and ointments that can be used to alleviate the discomfort.

Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes

Most pregnancy-related vision issues are not serious, but women with diabetes or gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing serious eye conditions that often worsen during pregnancy and can lead to permanent damage to the blood vessels in the eye.

Visual symptoms to watch for include severe fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and flashes and floaters within the eyes.

Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes should be seen by an optometrist once per trimester to monitor the blood vessels in the eye and to ensure steps are being taken to mitigate the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to permanent blindness.