To put it simply, pregnancy changes your body. This goes well beyond developing a baby bump, and amidst all the sudden changes, we’ve found that new and expectant mothers are often unaware of the effect their pregnancy can have on their eye health.
To help you better understand how to care for your eyes during and after pregnancy, we spoke with our very own Taylor Randich, O.D., who specializes in primary care for patients of all ages. Read on to learn how Dr. Randich answers six common questions about pregnancy and eye health.
Can Pregnancy Affect My Eyesight?
“Yes; however, most changes to your vision are mild and temporary,” Dr. Randich says. “These changes are due to an increase in the amount of fluid the body retains as well as fluctuating hormones and blood pressure.”
Some of the common complaints Dr. Randich often hears from expecting mothers is of eye dryness, increased sensitivity to light, and mild blurry vision. With this being said, it is possible that your pregnancy may lead to more serious eye conditions, including:
- Central serous chorioretinopathy
- Gestational diabetes
- Occlusive vascular disorders
It’s unlikely that any of those terms are familiar to you, but you don’t have to fear them, as long as you stay on top of your eye health during your pregnancy. Dr. Radich advises that any changes to your eyes during pregnancy, such as blurry or double vision, flashes of light, or an increase in floaters, should be reported to your eye doctor regardless of the severity.
Is It Bad to Get My Eyes Dilated While Pregnant?
“In a majority of cases, dilation will be postponed until after pregnancy,” Dr. Randich informs. “If a patient with a known pre-existing eye condition, like diabetes, is planning to become pregnant, it is encouraged to have a pre-pregnancy dilated eye examination.”
Remember to always inform your eye care provider if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding so that they may provide you with safe care and treatment for your current needs.
Is It True I Can’t Wear Contact Lenses While Pregnant?
“No; there are no restrictions to wearing contact lenses while pregnant,” says Dr. Randich.
However, while there may not be any special restrictions for wearing contacts when you’re expecting, it’s important to always follow the typical rules for wearing contacts, including:
- Don’t sleep in your contacts
- Replace your contact solution daily
- Replace your contact lenses as directed, whether daily, weekly, or monthly
If I Wear Glasses, Does That Mean My Baby Will Need Them Too?
“The best way to determine if your child is at risk for developing a refractive error that requires glasses is to have their eyes evaluated with a dilated eye exam,” Dr. Randich explains. “An eye doctor will be able to determine your child’s risk level for developing ocular refraction based on the prescription findings during an eye exam.”
Nearsightedness can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors, like increased work that requires near vision and decreased time outdoors. Dr. Randich believes the best preventative measure for nearsightedness is for the child to spend more time outdoors before the condition progresses.
Often, a child will not know how to tell you that they cannot see clearly because they have always seen the world with blurred vision and have no point of comparison. This makes it even more important to schedule regular eye exams for your child beginning at an early age.
When Should My Baby Get Their First Eye Exam?
According to Dr. Randich, almost as early as possible: “All babies should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at 6 months old,”. “Through the InfantSee program, any baby can receive a free pediatric eye exam up until 12 months of age.”
The American Optometric Association recommends the following eye exam frequency for children:
- 6-12 months
- At least once between 3 and 5 years of age
- Before the first grade and annually thereafter
Should I Get My Eyes Examined During My Pregnancy?
According to Dr. Randich, not only is it safe to have your eyes examined during your pregnancy, it’s also highly encouraged.
“Plan to attend your annual comprehensive eye examination as scheduled whether it falls during or after your pregnancy,” Dr. Randich advises. “Always call and schedule an appointment to be seen if you notice any changes to your eyes during or after pregnancy.”
If you’re pregnant (or planning to be) and experiencing changes in your vision, want to schedule an exam for you or your child, or have questions about your eye health, request an appointment or call The Eye Doctors New Tampa location today at (813) 632-2020.