Here’s how you should take care of your eyes if you’re pregnant!

Here’s how you should take care of your eyes if  you’re pregnant!

Don't overlook the care of your eyes, pregnant mum! Pregnancy and eyesight come hand in hand too, like the many changes in the body during that special time.

Pregnancy and eyesight are not commonly thought of together. Pregnancy is one of the most exciting, and challenging times in a woman’s life as the body undergoes a huge amount of changes: the metabolic rate increases, hormones are in flux, not to mention the weight gain, swelling and changes in body shape. Amongst these many changes, the eyes may also experience some changes, related to the hormonal alterations. Some of these are mild, yet some can be potentially serious.

Dry eyes

In general, dry eye symptoms attributed to hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy are mild. Using over-the-counter preservative free eyedrops would suffice in most instances. Contact lens wearers may need to reduce or even stop and switch to glasses during pregnancy, if dry eyes were significant.

Refractive changes

Hormonal fluctuations can give rise to changes in one’s eye degree. This is usually causes by swelling in various eye tissues such as the cornea and the lens. In the extreme cases, the change may require a change of eyewear power prescription. Generally, these changes are temporary and will subside after pregnancy and nursing.

Refractive surgeries must not be performed during pregnancy and nursing, as the eye power may not be stable, and surgical results are unpredictable. For ladies contemplating pregnancy who are also highly dependent on optical aid like glasses and contact lenses, do consider the changes in lifestyle that are inevitable after the arrival of the bundle of joy. Fatigue combined with frequent night awakenings for baby care may make groping for the pair of glasses in darkness a potential hazard. If required, consider refractive surgeries like LASIK at least 3-6 months prior to pregnancy.

Diabetes

For the young diabetics and those who contract pregnancy-related diabetes (gestational diabetes), changes in the retinal blood vessels may occur due to the surge in hormones. These changes may potentially give rise to the growth of fragile, abnormal retinal blood vessels with tendencies to bleed.

Regular eye examinations with dilation are very important so that such risks can be detected early and if necessary, treatment with laser instituted to prevent visual compromise during the busy period following childbirth.

Eye pressure

The eye pressure may change during pregnancy, and hence, an eye check is indicated, particularly for those who have a diagnosis of pre-existing glaucoma. In general, these changes are temporary and should subside after pregnancy.

Use of medicated eyedrops

Occasionally, pregnant ladies may contract infectious eye diseases such as conjunctivitis or even corneal ulcers. In such situations, it is important that they get treatment, and sometimes antimicrobial eyedrops may be necessary. However, certain antibiotics are not suitable during pregnancy. Hence self-medication is strongly discouraged. Please see an eye doctor should you get an eye infection during pregnancy.

Pregnancy and eyesight may not be on the top of your mind once you find out there's a little bundle of joy growing inside you, nevertheless, you should take care of your eyes along with the rest of your body.

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Written by

Dr Daphne Han

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