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Blurry Vision

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 characterized 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 eye doctor 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 ​​Family Vision Center, 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 exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Family Vision Center in La Crosse today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Why are regular eye exams 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 exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

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

Do You Get Blurred Vision After Eating?

Have you ever gotten up from the table after enjoying a meal and noticed that things appeared fuzzy or blurry? If so, you may have experienced a temporary spike in blood sugar that affected your eyes.

If your vision is often blurred after meals, you should schedule a visit to your optometrist and general practitioner to rule out diabetes and other conditions.

The Link Between Blood Sugar and Vision

Diabetes is characterized by excessively high blood sugar levels. In some people it causes food to be digested faster than usual, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar can lead to fluid to build up in the eyes, resulting in blurry vision.

The eye’s natural crystalline lens and cornea are responsible for focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. The lens changes its shape to accommodate focusing on near or far objects. In some cases, when the eye swells due to excess fluid resulting from the high blood sugar, it temporarily doesn’t focus light with the same accuracy.

Foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates are most likely to cause blood sugar to spike. Some examples include:

  • White rice and pasta
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Potatoes in all forms
  • Sugary sodas and beverages
  • Candies and baked goods
  • Fruit juice

Other Possible Causes of Temporary Blurred Vision

Temporary eyesight changes don’t always mean diabetes. Intermittent blurred vision can be caused by other problems or conditions, including:

Many of these conditions will also present with symptoms other than blurred vision, so be sure to be open with your optometrist if you experience any unusual visual symptoms.

If you notice blurred vision only following a high-carb meal, it may be worth tracking your meals and symptoms to try and find a pattern. This information will be valuable for your optometrist and other health care professionals.

How We Can Help

At Family Vision Center, we offer a wide range of eye care services, such as eye exams and eye disease management, including diabetic eye disease. If you’re concerned about temporary blurred vision after eating or any other visual symptoms, contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.

If signs of diabetes are discovered during your visit, don’t worry. We’ll explain the next steps to take, to ensure the best possible outcome. Our goal is to provide top-notch eye care delivered with a smile for all of our patients.

To schedule your eye exam near you, call Family Vision Center in today!

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Q&A With Our Optometrist in La Crosse, Wisconsin

How often do I need an eye exam?

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults have their eyes checked by an optometrist every 1-2 years. For high risk patients, patients who wear glasses or contact lenses, or those over the age of 65, annual eye exams are recommended. Certain conditions like diabetes may make it necessary to visit your optometrist more often.

Does being diabetic make a person more likely to experience vision loss?

Diabetes can negatively impact your eyes in more ways than one, but preventing vision loss and blindness is becoming easier with new technology and treatments. Having undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy puts a person at a much greater risk of going blind. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to schedule regular diabetic eye exams including retinal scans, to significantly reduce the chances of experiencing permanent vision loss.