Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Eye Doctor When You’re Pregnant

One in six women experience vision changes during pregnancy.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Jun 2019
woman touching her eyes while working on computer
Photo: iStock

Morning sickness, sore breasts, swollen ankles—the list of common pregnancy symptoms goes on and on. But one lesser known side effect expectant moms experience are changes to their vision. Nearly 40 percent of new moms don’t know their eyesight can change during pregnancy, but one in six experience vision changes, according to a new survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Believe it or not, your changing hormones can affect your vision too. For example, the study points out if a woman is retaining water, fluid may build up behind the eye or in the eyeball, causing changes in the shape of the cornea. Which is why pregnant women should keep their doctor in the loop about any pre-existing conditions, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes so they can monitor changes in their eyesight.

“A good rule of thumb is no matter how minimal the variation to one’s eyesight, patients should let their eye doctor know,” says Samuel D. Pierce, OD and AOA President. "Pregnant women also should maintain their regularly scheduled visits for an in-person, comprehensive eye exam that can detect any potential issues that may have no obvious warning signs.”

Common eye conditions caused by pregnancy may include:

  • Dry eye
  • Migraines
  • Blurred vision and light sensitivity

Whether you think you’re experiencing these symptoms or not, it’s still a good idea to check in with your eye doctor. “Their health and the health of their baby are important, and checking on all unusual symptoms can help have a healthy pregnancy from start to finish,” Pierce says.

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