woman wearing glasses: eye and vision changes during pregnancy

Complaints such as morning sickness and back pain are generally associated with pregnancy but when pregnant women experience blurred vision and other eye problems, it is always a great concern.

Inge Loubser, a senior optometrist at Mellins i-Style and expert for BabyYumYum says new and expectant mothers go through various physical and hormonal changes, so it’s not unusual to experience vision changes. “Women who have any pre-existing eye conditions such as glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, and women who have taken fertility treatments, should be extra vigilant with their eyesight, because these conditions may put you at greater risk for vision changes and permanent loss of vision,” she adds.

When to have your eyes tested during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the shape of the cornea changes which may cause discomfort when wearing contact lenses. Many pregnant women might also visit their optometrist during pregnancy to check and possibly change their contact lens or spectacle lens prescription. Getting an entirely new prescription for spectacles probably won’t be necessary, unless you’re experiencing a significant change in your vision which bothers you, in which case you should see your optometrist as a precautionary measure.

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It is important to see your optometrist immediately when experiencing any of the following abnormal eye changes during pregnancy:

  • Double vision
  • Extremely blurry vision for a prolonged time
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Loss of vision
  • Seeing spots or flashing lights

Refractive error, however, can be variable during pregnancy and breastfeeding and the vision changes that you might experience during pregnancy will most likely only be minor. Fortunately, the shape of the cornea and your vision will return to normal soon after giving birth, although some women do still report blurry vision during the breastfeeding stages.

A final prescription should, therefore, be determined following the first menstrual cycle after giving birth, or in the case of mothers who are breastfeeding, the first menstrual cycle after stopping with breastfeeding. It is for this reason that most eye experts also advise against getting Lasik surgery or being fitted for new contact lenses during pregnancy.

Inge is a qualified optometrist and became the Mellins i-Style practice manager for the Brandwag branch in Bloemfontein in 2009. Inge insists on professional eye care, optically superior products and patient satisfaction. As a spokesperson for the Mellins i-Style brand she brings eye care, optically advanced testing and precision i.Scription lenses to all Mellins i-Style patients.