How does pregnancy affect your vision?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 by Amy Pritchett

Did you know that pregnancy can affect your vision? We recently ran a thread on Mumsnet and received some really interesting responses. In this thread, we asked 261 women how pregnancy affected their vision and got a range of replies. Some women said that they experienced a change in their prescription, while in other cases women reported having drier eyes during pregnancy.

There were even respondents who said their vision improved at this time - interesting stuff!

We thought that this might be something other women would like to read about and created the infographic below to illustrate our findings. We also asked our expert opticians why these vision changes happen and what to do if you experience any symptoms.

Pregnancy and Vision Infographic

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What did the results show?

Here are the top symptoms and vision changes women experienced during pregnancy:

  • 30% no vision problems

  • 26% experienced a change in prescription

  • 19% had dry eyes

  • 8% experienced blurred or distorted vision

We are happy to report the majority of women (30%) claimed that they experienced no problems during pregnancy. This was followed by women experiencing a change in prescription (26%) and those who had dry eyes (19%).

Other common symptoms during pregnancy included uncomfortable contact lenses, headaches and tired eyes.

What causes these symptoms?

It is common for women to experience minor symptoms such as blurred vision, dry and tired eyes. It is also normal for pregnant women to experience changes to their prescription. In most cases, these changes are temporary and nothing to worry about.

According to Brendan O’Brien, Vision Direct’s Head Optician, “During pregnancy, it is not unusual for women to experience a slight change in prescription. In the vast majority of cases, vision will return to normal after delivery.”

Just as pregnancy hormones affect the rest of your body, they are also to blame for changes to your vision. For example, just as pregnant women retain water in their legs and ankles, fluid is also retained in their eyes. The extra fluid affects the thickness of your cornea, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.

What should you do if you experience vision problems?

If you experience changes in your vision or any unusual symptoms, you should always consult a physician for advice. They will be able to check if your eye symptoms are normal or if they are a sign of something more critical.

In some cases, changes in your vision could be an indicator of a more serious pregnancy related problem. For example, blurred vision could be a sign of gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. This is why it is always important to consult your optician if you experience any problems.

Since vision usually returns to normal after delivery, you shouldn’t change your prescription or get laser eye surgery while you are pregnant. This could potentially lead to overcorrection of your vision.

If you have dry eyes, you can use eye drops for relief. Always check with your physician about eye drops and suitability before using them. For symptoms like tired eyes you can apply a warm washcloth for relief.

As mentioned, the best news is that any changes will usually return to normal after delivery. However, if there are any concerns you should always speak to your GP or midwife for advice.

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