How Pregnancy Can Affect Eye Health
21st, Mar 2023
Did you know... women make up two thirds of the world’s population of blind and visually impaired individuals? Women are more at risk of vision changes and are 12% more likely to experience vision loss than males. Pregnancy can cause temporary changes to vision, so in lieu of Mother’s Day we are sharing some of these changes to watch out for.
During pregnancy, hormone levels change significantly and pregnancy hormones called human chorionic gonadotropin and human placental lactogen are introduced. The presence of these hormones can create subtle, temporary changes in and around the eyes during pregnancy which often go away once the baby has been delivered and the mother stops breastfeeding. These changes include:
- Many pregnant women experience increased pigmentation around the eyelids. This is called melasma or chloasma and experts believe hormone changes caused during pregnancy increase melanin production which in turn, results in the darkening of certain areas of skin.
- Corneas may change thickness, curvature and sensitivity during pregnancy. This can result in refractive errors causing blurry vision. Pregnancy can change how your eyes refract light because water retention can thicken the cornea and alter the front surface of the eye. This may cause changes in vision, this will generally return to normal after childbirth.
- Hormones can affect the tear film and lacrimal glands of the eyes. This may cause dry eye syndrome. Symptoms can include excessive tearing, intermittent blurry vision and a scratchy often burning sensation. If this occurs and contact lenses become uncomfortable, it is recommended to consider daily disposable soft contact lenses or speciality lenses that can address issues relating to dry eyes.
Intraocular pressure (IOP)
- Our eyes contain clear fluid that helps to keep the eye “inflated”. Pressure within the eye decreases during pregnancy, having low LOP can cause swelling and irregularities in the cornea which can result in decrease vison.
- Ability to change focus from near to distant vision may be lost during pregnancy as well.
Most ocular changes are temporary and clear up after the delivery of the baby, however some signs may signal a more serious issue. If you have any concerns about your vision, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced optometrists at Kingsbridge Opticians.
Kingsbridge Opticians also facilitate a seamless referral pathway to our Ophthalmology Consultants at Kingsbridge Private Hospital if a more serious issue is detected.
If you have any concerns, please contact Kingsbridge Opticians at your nearest location:
- Belfast - 028 9066 7030
- Donaghadee - 028 9188 4188
- Newtownabbey - 028 9085 9900