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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 characterised 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 optometrist 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 ​​Holdfastbay Optometry, 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 test or learn more about our eye care services, call Holdfastbay Optometry in Glenelg today!

 

Q&A

Why are regular eye tests important? 

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 test. 

Will my baby need an eye test after  birth? 

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye test 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 tests! 

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Ian Bluntish

Ian Bluntish

Optometrist
Ian Bluntish has over 40 years’ experience in a wide range of optometric practices around Australia and has been based at Glenelg for over 20 years now. Like all health professions optometry has been continually changing over that time and Ian has a keen interest in, and commitment to, keeping abreast...
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Joanne Thomas

Optometrist
Joanne Thomas has over 40 years experience as an optometrist which until recently had been spent in managing her own practices in Canberra. As a Behavioural Optometrist she has a strong interest in children’s vision and the impact this has on their development and learning. She is also privileged to work...
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Rachel Holden

Optometrist
A Canadian by origin, Rachel began her optometry education at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and then moved to Australia, attending the Victorian College of Optometry at the University of Melbourne. After graduating in 2002, she has practised in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She moonlights as a stand-up comedian...
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Gina

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Gina is enjoying the challenge of working in the optical industry and taking on new skills as a qualified optical dispenser after a long career in sales. She has a strong background in retailing and design, skills and experience which are a real asset to our workplace. Her sense of style and dedication...
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Tarra

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Tarra, a qualified optical dispenser, has been part of the Adelaide optical industry since 2011. Her career in retail and health has prepared her for a strong customer service focus, and she particularly enjoys helping our young ones with that all important frame choice. As the mum of two young daughters...
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Alex

Optometric Assistant
Alex is enjoying his fourth year studying Optometry at Flinders University and is looking forward to the challenges of the final year of his degree. Born and bred in WA, he now lives locally and loves the beachside lifestyle – you might even see him on his regular swims between Somerton Park...
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Holdfastbay Optometry in Glenelg

At Holdfastbay Optometry, we care about your vision and eye health. We offer innovative eye care services to patients from in and around Glenelg. This includes comprehensive eye health assessments, ocular disease diagnosis and treatment, contact lens evaluation, fittings and prescriptions.

Our team aims to provide the optimal possible solution for your eye health and vision needs. By utilising the latest technologies and evidence-based treatments, we ensure optimal eye health to help you live your best life.

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Holdfastbay Optometry is a full-service optical practice with the knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to help our patients in Glenelg look and feel their best. We understand how much first impressions matter. After all, your face is the first thing people see when they look at you! Caring optometrists In Glenelg.

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