If you’re pregnant, you probably expect morning sickness, back pain, constipation, and swelling. You might not expect pregnancy to affect your vision, yet this is something that many moms-to-be experience.
Blurry vision during pregnancy is actually a common complaint that can continue until after delivery.
Should you worry about the blurriness? Is it permanent? Here’s a look at common causes of blurry vision during pregnancy, as well as what you can do to resolve it.
Anyone who’s been pregnant knows how hormones can wreak havoc on the body. You can blame hormones for shifting moods, and pregnancy hormones also trigger morning sickness and food aversions.
So it probably comes as no surprise that blurry vision during pregnancy has a lot to do with changing hormones, too.
Fluctuating hormones are even responsible for swelling during pregnancy. Unfortunately, fluid doesn’t only retain in the feet or lower part of the body. Fluid can also accumulate in your eye.
Water retention can increase pressure in your eyeball and make your cornea thicker, resulting in blurry vision. Hormonal changes might also interfere with tear production. If your eyes produce fewer tears, your vision can become blurry.
The good news is that blurry vision in pregnancy isn’t usually a serious problem. Yes, blurriness is nerve-racking, but it isn’t likely to interfere with day-to-day activities.
That’s not to say you can’t take precautions for your safety. If you don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel, it’s safer to have someone drive until your vision returns to normal.
Blurry vision during pregnancy is usually temporary, so you can expect your vision to return to normal sometime after delivery. Occasionally, vision changes in pregnancy may permanently alter your eyes and require a visit to the optometrist after baby is born.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends waiting 6 to 9 months after delivery to ensure your vision has stabilized before changing your prescription.
More likely, your vision will return to normal within days or weeks of delivery. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to treat or deal with blurriness.
Ditch the contact lenses
You might notice blurriness more when wearing your contact lenses. Hormonal changes can change the shape of your cornea, and if so, your lenses might not fit properly. This can worsen blurriness, but your vision might improve if you switch to eyeglasses.
Give your eyes a rest
Blurriness can also worsen when your eyes are tired. If you regularly work at a computer, take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Blink often, reduce your monitor brightness, and take a 2-minute break every hour.
A good night’s sleep is also important. Adequate rest keeps your eyes healthy and reduces blurriness.
Use eye drops
Talk to your doctor to see if you can use artificial tears or lubricating drops. Increasing moisture in your eyes might correct blurriness, especially if hormonal changes reduce tear production. Use eye drops as directed.
If over-the-counter eye drops don’t work, ask your doctor about a prescription eye lubricant.
Don’t get a new lens prescription… yet
Blurry vision is often a temporary nuisance, so don’t get a new prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Even if a new prescription corrects your vision while pregnant, this prescription might be too strong once your vision returns to normal after delivery.
Although blurry vision during pregnancy is common, let your doctor know about any changes in vision. This is important because vision changes can be an early sign of gestational diabetes. This is high blood sugar triggered by pregnancy.
Vision problems can also signal high blood pressure or preeclampsia. Your doctor can monitor your condition to make sure you and your baby remain healthy.
Also, notify your doctor if you have other vision changes like increased eye floaters, double vision, or flashing lights.
Unfortunately, blurry vision isn’t the only eye change that can occur during pregnancy. Some women also experience infections like pink eye during pregnancy.
Pregnancy can weaken your immune system, so you’re more susceptible to infections. In addition, being pregnant can decrease your peripheral vision — which you can also blame on shifting hormones.
Sometimes, pregnancy hormones will change the color of the skin around your eyes. It might appear darker than normal.
But while these changes during pregnancy can be stressful, don’t fear a permanent change in vision. In most cases, your vision will return to normal within weeks of delivery. See your doctor if you continue to have blurriness or other eye problems after the first few weeks.
Pregnancy hormones can change your body in unique ways. Some changes you expect — mood swings, morning sickness, weight gain — but other changes like blurry vision can come as a complete surprise.
Just remember that this is a common pregnancy complaint that’s often temporary. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can determine whether blurriness is minor or due to a more serious problem like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.
In the meantime, get plenty of rest, wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses, and use artificial tears to increase visual acuity.