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How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​Corktown Eyecare, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Corktown Eyecare in Toronto today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Sanjay Vakani OD

Q: Why are regular eye exams important?

  • A: Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Q: Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

  • A: According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Toronto, Ontario. Visit Corktown Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What Do Your Eyes Say About Your Health?

Eyes show much more than a glimpse of your soul! They also give your eye doctor a view of your general health. Even if you have 20/20 vision, plenty of other body conditions can be revealed by an eye exam. That’s why it’s important to book a visit to an eye doctor near me – even if you aren’t having any trouble seeing.

What health conditions can your eye doctor see?

Beyond evaluating your visual acuity and inspecting for any signs of ocular disease, our Toronto, Ontario , eye doctor spends part of every eye exam searching for signs of a general health problem. The following diseases can cause symptoms that can be detected in your eyes:

  • Diabetes – When blood sugars are elevated for prolonged periods, it can affect the tiny blood vessels in your retina, leading to leakage. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy, and it can cause vision loss.
  • High Cholesterol – This dangerous health condition puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and heart attacks because fat deposits narrow your arteries. They can also form a ring around the edge of your cornea. If your eye doctor spots this ring of fat deposits in your eye, it can indicate that you have high cholesterol.
  • Arthritis – Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that can lead to swelling in your iris. Your eye may be painful, highly sensitive to light and red. If this form of arthritis progresses, it can spread and become debilitating.
  • Liver damage – Yellow eyes and/or skin can highlight the presence of jaundice. This condition happens when the liver manufactures too much bilirubin, in response to damage or swelling caused by autoimmune disorders, viruses, genetic diseases, or alcoholism.
  • Sickle cell disease – When a person has sickle cell disease, the blood cells are sickle shaped, leading to anemia, extreme fatigue and pain. The blood vessels in the eyes are also typically affected, and people experience eye pain, loss of peripheral vision, redness, jaundice, blurred vision and floaters. If the retinal blood vessels get blocked, a hemorrhage of the retina or vitreous gel may occur.
  • Heart disease – Just like heart disease affects blood vessels in other organs of your body, it can change the blood vessels in the retina – causing narrowing or swelling. If your eye doctor discovers minor signs during an eye exam, it can indicate you’re at risk of developing heart disease. This information serves as an essential warning – because it enables you to make diet and lifestyle changes to decrease your risks.
  • Myasthenia gravis – This autoimmune disorder often expresses itself first by causing drooping eyelids. Over time, the condition attacks and weakens body muscles.
  • Brain and nerve disorders – It’s normal to have eye twitches when you’re tired or stressed, or even if you have some eye irritation. However, this symptom could also indicate a brain or nerve condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or Bell’s palsy.

Eye exams protect your body too

We care about your overall health and well-being and use top-tier technologies to perform comprehensive, dilated eye exams at Corktown Eyecare. Let our Toronto, Ontario , eye doctor near me take a look at what’s happening in your eyes and your body!

At Corktown Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 647-694-7600 or book an appointment online to see one of our Toronto eye doctors.

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