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SEEING FOR TWO: Vision Changes During Pregnancy
What Expectant Mothers Should Know
by the Better Vision Institute

An expectant mother might not have believed her eyes when she saw the positive pregnancy test result, but now that Baby is on the way, her eyes may really be playing tricks on her! The Better Vision Institute, a non-profit group dedicated to educating the public about vision health, wants women to know that they may experience eye and vision changes during pregnancy.

"During pregnancy, a woman's body changes drastically to prepare for the birth of her child," says ophthalmologist Wendell Wong, a BVI Advisory Council member. "An increase in hormones often causes temporary eye conditions and although vision returns to normal after delivery, seeing an eyecare professional can help ease the transition process."

Women should also be aware that certain vision problems can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. It is therefore important for women to monitor vision changes during pregnancy. To help, the Better Vision Institute has compiled a chart that highlights the most common vision changes that occur during pregnancy and those which may warn that something more threatening is amiss.

Symptoms Condition Advice
Vision problems
  • Reduced tolerance of contact lenses
  • Increased dryness
  • Corneal Edema:
    The cornea becomes more susceptible to irritation.
    Decrease or discontinue contact lens wear if symptoms persist. Keep a pair of comfortable glasses handy. This is not the time to be fitted for contact lenses.
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in the retina:
    This can be due to pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes
    Be sure to have your blood sugar levels monitored if you are diabetic.
  • Distorted vision
  • Central Serous Choriodopathy:
    This is caused by a leakage of fluid between the fine layers of the eye.
    See your eyecare professional.
  • "Tunnel Vision"
  • Pituitary Adenoma:
    A hormone secreting tumor.
    The condition is very rare but if symptomatic, see an eyecare professional.
  • Pre-existing symptoms of glaucoma improve
  • Glaucoma (pre-existing condition):
    High pressure in the eye.
    Eye pressure decreases. In some instances, however, medication is still required. As with all medications, glaucoma treatments should be used with extreme caution in pregnant women.
    Vision problems that may indicate a more serious condition
  • Blurred vision
  • Gestational Diabetes:
    An elevation of blood sugar levels during the last half of pregnancy
    Follow your obstetrician's advice.
  • Blurred vision
  • Spots in front of eyes
  • Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH)
    PIH generally resolves itself after delivery, but early treatment is vital to minimizing complications with the pregnancy.
  • Detached retina
  • Preeclampsia and Eclampsia:
    This condition is caused by elevated blood pressure reaching dangerous levels.
    Your obstetrician should closely monitor you. Consult with an ophthalmologist regarding any effects on your vision.

    copyright Better Vision Institute. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

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