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Pregnancy and Vision: What Happens and What You Can Do

Pregnancy and Vision: What Happens and What You Can Do

Ask anyone, regardless of whether they’re mothers or not, and they’ll know that pregnancy takes a serious toll on the human body. In fact, a recent report revealed that up to one-third of all women experience lasting health issues following childbirth. This is equivalent to about 40 million women every year. In many cases, these problems begin to manifest even during the pregnancy itself, which is why well-rounded healthcare and support are integral.

That said, when talking about pregnancy-related complications that need attending to, many people overlook vision. Far too often, attention is directed toward more common problems like lower back pain, depressive ideation, and the like. However, ocular abnormalities in pregnant women are more prevalent and impactful than may initially be expected.

Your eyes and pregnancy

Although there are many factors that can influence a woman’s vision, evidence suggests that pregnancy can strongly impact a person’s ocular function. Some research has even determined that pregnancy can worsen existing vision impairments. So, how does pregnancy color vision? Largely, it’s because of hormonal fluctuations. Sex hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, affect the eyes’ oil glands and tear duct to ensure that there is enough lubrication in place. At the same time, the hormones from the thyroid can regulate eye muscles and optic nerves. As such, when the levels of these hormones are in constant flux, the organs and processes they’re responsible for are thrown out of order.

With the above in mind, among the most common vision problems that pregnant women experience is dry eyes. This can manifest in a number of uncomfortable ways, including redness, irritation, and soreness. For some women, the dryness may be so severe that even sleep and rest are hard to achieve. This is problematic, as getting enough rest time is essential throughout the pregnancy and postpartum healing process. Aside from this, some pregnant women may also notice their eyesight getting blurry. In milder cases, this can be due to fluid retention that changes the shape of the cornea. On the other hand, more significant blurred vision can occur because of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. In both these events, the body experiences spikes in blood sugar and pressure that can hurt the eyes’ blood vessels. Over time, these can lead to more serious vision loss if left unattended.

How to keep your eyes healthy while waiting for baby

Fortunately, in many cases, pregnancy-related vision issues are rather easy to curb with the right proactive measures. For starters, it’s important to find interventions to protect the eyes from being further exacerbated by external factors. As per the Cleveland Clinic, photosensitivity happens to many pregnant women. Because of this, exposure to sunlight can cause pregnant women to experience eye pain, straining, dryness, and blurring. One of the easiest ways to address this is with specialized eyewear, such as polarized sunglasses. Available with or without prescriptions, these sunglasses use special filters that block out UV rays and painful glare. This can help improve visual acuity and comfort. Since major brands, like Ray-Ban and Costa, offer polarized sunnies, it’s easy for pregnant women to find a pair that’s best for them.

On top of this, it also helps to use artificial eye lubricants. Since the immune system is stretched during pregnancy, illnesses like conjunctivitis are easier to catch. According to experts, something as seemingly inconsequential as allergies or minor abrasions can lead to this. With artificial eye lubricants, the eyes can be soothed and aided in washing out any potential irritants. Just make sure to opt for preservative-free options that are greenlit by your doctor, such as Systane or NanoTears. As these solutions help calm the eyes, they can also make wearing medical devices, like contact lenses, more comfortable. This is important for pregnant women who may suffer from vision issues that require refractive correction.

Overall, vision issues during pregnancy shouldn’t be neglected, but they need not take over this special time, either. With the right preparation, guidance, and action, you can safeguard your vision and make your pregnancy more enjoyable.

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Rosetta J

Rosetta James is a part-time writer and full-time mom to two teenagers. Parenting is never an easy task, which is why Rosetta aims to share her tips and tricks with every mother in the community.

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