Your Eyes During Pregnancy: What Expectant Moms Should Know
A growing belly isn’t the only physical change you’ll undergo during your pregnancy. Your eyes will change as well. Throughout your pregnancy, your eyes may experience dryness, vision problems, and more. Here’s a look at the most common vision disturbances you might face, their symptoms, and what you can do about them.
What It Is: Corneal sensitivity is usually present with pregnant women, with the most changes occurring in the third trimester (and reversible postpartum). A cause may be related to the slight increase in corneal thickness that may develop from corneal edema, making the cornea more sensitive and irritated easily.
Vision Problems: Reduced tolerance of contact lenses and/or increased dryness.
Advice: 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!
Changes in the Retina
What It Is: Vision problems and changes to your retina may be due to pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes.
Vision Problems: Blurred vision.
Advice: Be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully if you are diabetic and let your healthcare provider know if you are having blurred vision.
Central Serous Choroidopathy
What It Is: CSC is a leakage of fluid or accumulation of fluid under the retina. (The fluid leaks from the choroid, or the blood vessel layer under the retina.)
Vision Problems: Distorted vision.
Advice: See your eyecare professional.
What It Is: A pituitary adenoma is a benign tumor. The pituitary gland, responsible for secretion of hormones, can form a tumor and consequently, an over secretion of hormones. This may cause problems such as acromegaly (growth hormone hypersecretion) or Cushing’s disease (corticosteroid hormone hypersecretion).
Vision Problems: Tunnel vision.
Advice: This condition is rare, but be sure to contact your eyecare professional if you experience episodes of tunnel vision during your pregnancy.
Glaucoma (changes in the pre-existing condition)
What It Is: Glaucoma is a disorder of the eye characterized by an increase of pressure within the eyeball. In general, eye pressure tends to decrease during pregnancy, possibly due to the body’s hormonal changes. This may be beneficial to some women as pre-existing symptoms of glaucoma tend to improve.
Vision Problems: High pressure in the eye.
Advice: 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. If you have glaucoma, be sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as you become pregnant. And conversely, be sure your OB-GYN is aware that you have this condition.
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