What Causes Blurry Vision During Pregnancy?
If you’re experiencing blurry vision during pregnancy, changing hormone levels might be to blame. Here’s more about what causes the eye problem and how to resolve it.
If you think you're seeing things while pregnant, you're probably right. Your eyes are affected by the same build-up of fluids that give you thickened ankles or bloating. Learn more about blurry vision during pregnancy, with tips for relieving the problem.
What Causes Blurry Vision in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy hormones help support your growing baby, but they can also wreak havoc on your eyesight during the third trimester. The hormones allow your tissues to retain more fluid, which causes your lens and cornea (the outermost layer of your eye) to thicken. You may become more near- or farsighted than usual, and you might have trouble seeing clearly.
The rise in estrogen also causes your eyes to be drier because your body is producing fewer tears, says Laura Riley, M.D., an OB-GYN in New York City. This can leave your eyes feeling irritated and looking red. "Dry eye syndrome" can also lead to blurred vision, damage your cornea, or increase your sensitivity to sunlight.
How Long Does Blurry Vision Last?
Blurry vision usually happens in the third trimester. Some women notice it as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy, and the blurriness can last as long as six weeks postpartum.
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How to Relieve Blurry Vision
You may find that wearing glasses rather than contact lenses will be more comfortable during your pregnancy. Even though your eyesight may be worse than before, don't bother having your prescription adjusted. Your vision will very likely return to normal within 6 weeks of delivery. For this reason, you should also wait to have laser surgery until your hormones stabilize—at least 6 months after your baby is born—to avoid overcorrecting your vision.
If your eye problems are affecting your everyday life, you can usually relieve any discomfort with "artificial tears" available at most pharmacies, says Dr, Riley. Wear sunglasses to protect your extra-sensitive eyes in strong light.
Should I See a Doctor?
If you experience any drastic or sudden changes in your eyesight—like blurred vision, dimming eyesight, double vision, or spots— contact your health care provider immediately. Sudden, significant changes in vision like these during pregnancy can signal uncontrolled diabetes. They could also indicate preeclampsia (a form of pregnancy high blood pressure), especially if they’re accompanied by headaches, says Dr. Riley.