Yes, some pregnant women may experience changes in their eyesight during the third trimester. These changes are usually temporary and are caused by hormonal fluctuations and an increase in fluid retention. The good news is that majority of vision changes during pregnancy are mild and not a serious problem. These vision changes go away a few months after birth or breastfeeding. Common symptoms include blurred vision, dry eyes, and sensitivity to light.
- Blurry vision – Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can affect different parts of the body, including the eyes. High levels of hormones during pregnancy can lead to changes in the shape of the cornea, which can cause blurry or distorted vision. Pregnancy can also cause an increase in fluid retention, which can increase pressure in your eyeball and make your cornea thicker, resulting in blurry vision. Talk to your doctor to see if you can use artificial tears or lubricating drops. Increasing moisture in your eyes might correct blurriness. And be sure to blink often, especially when using digital devices.
- Dry eyes – Dry eyes is generally at its worst in the third trimester. Hormonal changes are important for a healthy pregnancy, but they can cause side effects like dry eyes. If you’re pregnant and suddenly have dry eyes, it’s normally because pregnancy hormones are making your body produce fewer tears. While most cases of dry eye can be treated with the use of over-the-counter eye drops (artificial tears), persistent dry eye that causes you continuing discomfort or pain is a sign you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.
- Sensitive to light – Pregnancy can change vision by making your eyes more sensitive to light, causing headaches or migraine pain. 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. You can take steps to reduce getting affected by light by wearing a hat, cap, or glare-reducing sunglasses outdoors. Or by reducing the brightness setting of electronic devices, such as TVs, phones, and computers.
- Blood pressure – Pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure in pregnancy) can affect eye health. This is a type of high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks and goes away within 6 weeks of the baby’s birth. It’s also known as gestational high blood pressure or gestational hypertension. It can cause eye problems such as retinopathy or blurred vision. Keeping active and doing some physical activity each day, such as walking or swimming, can help keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
If you are experiencing any changes in your eyesight during pregnancy, such as headaches, eye pain, or flashes in your vision, it’s important to speak with your eye doctor. They can help determine if any underlying conditions are contributing to your symptoms and recommend treatments to alleviate them. It’s also important to note that regular eye exams are important during pregnancy, as some eye diseases and conditions can develop or worsen during this time.