You may experience some changes in your vision or dryness of your eyes during these last few weeks.

By Dr. Laura Riley

Those same pregnancy hormones that help your body support your growing baby can wreak havoc with eyesight during the 3rd trimester. Because the hormones cause your tissues to retain more fluid, the very shape of your eyeballs may change. You may become more near- or farsighted than usual, to the point where you might have trouble seeing clearly with your regular prescription lenses.

The rise in estrogen also causes your eyes to be drier because your body is producing fewer tears. This can leave your eyes feeling irritated and looking red. "Dry eye syndrome" can even cause your eyesight to be blurred, damage your cornea, or increase your sensitivity to sunlight.

With so few weeks to go, you needn't do anything drastic. You might not be able to wear hard contact lenses--switch to soft ones or wear glasses--but you can usually relieve any discomfort with "artificial tears" available at most pharmacies. Wear sunglasses to protect your extra-sensitive eyes in strong light. You can certainly get new prescription lenses, but don't do this if it's too costly or if you can make do without them. Your eyesight will return to normal after 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.

However, if you experience any drastic or sudden changes in your eyesight, like blurred vision, dimming eyesight, double vision, or spots that aren't just the temporary ones you get from standing up too fast, contact your health care provider immediately. Sudden, significant changes in vision like these during pregnancy can signal preeclampsia, especially if accompanied by headaches.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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