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Pregnancy And Your Vision: What To Expect And How To Cope

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You know to expect many changes to your body during pregnancy, but you may be surprised when those changes also affect your vision. There's usually no need to worry since these changes are a natural part of pregnancy and usually disappear after delivery. Following are some of the vision and eye issues you may encounter, along with some strategies for coping with them.

Vision Problems

If you feel as though your vision is growing weaker or worse, you may be right. Most pregnant women expect swollen ankles and puffy faces, but they may be surprised to find that this fluid retention can also affect their vision. This is usually of no concern and it is relatively short-lived.

Like any swelling, you do want to mention the vision problems to your doctor. If you normally wear contact lenses and the swelling makes them uncomfortable, speak with your eye doctor about switching to glasses or about being fitted with new temporary lenses.

Dry Eyes

Although hormonal changes may cause pregnancy emotions to sometimes run high, they also tend to dry out your tears. The result is itchy dry eyes. Once again, you may need to set your contacts aside for glasses if the irritation is severe. Otherwise, lubricating eye drops should help relieve the problem.

Vision and Health Strategies

Generally, blurry vision and dry eyes will have no lasting effect on your vision or health, but you still need to address them with your doctor. The following strategies will keep you healthy:

  • DO mention any vision changes to your doctor as soon as possible. Blurry vision can sometimes be a symptom of preeclampsia, a form of high blood pressure, or gestational diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing these pregnancy complications.

  • DON'T rush out to get a new eyeglass or contact prescription. Unless your vision changes are severe, it's better to cope with the slight blurriness. Your vision will likely return to its previous quality after you give birth.

  • DO tell your eye doctor if your contacts are causing you discomfort. You don't want to inadvertently cause eye damage by wearing contacts that constrict your eye.

  • DON'T rub your eyes if they feel dry or irritated. This is more likely to result in a scratched lens or an eye infection.

  • DO take screen breaks. Rest your eyes often if you are watching TV, on the computer, or reading. This can help relieve pregnancy-induced dry eyes.