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How Pregnancy Can Change Your Vision

May 17, 2023

Having a child can surely change the way you see the world, but did you know it can have a physical impact on your vision too? The natural hormonal fluctuations experienced throughout pregnancy can lead to changes throughout the body, which will often get back to normal at some point, but side effects on your cardiovascular system and metabolism can lead to longer lasting impacts. 

If you’re expecting a baby soon, here are some common visual side effects to look for and some very uncommon but hazardous changes to ask your doctor about.
Common Visual Side Effects During Pregnancy

Every woman and every pregnancy are different, but there are a number of minor visual symptoms you may experience throughout gestation in the time leading up to birth. These will typically resolve themselves within a few weeks, but it’s always worth asking your doctor if you’re concerned. 
Blurry Vision

Hormonal changes, especially those leading to increased fluid retention, can cause the shape of your cornea to change during pregnancy. This can make your vision a bit less acute than normal, to the point where your eye doctor may provide corrective lenses. Fortunately, as your hormones continue to re-balance themselves throughout pregnancy, you’ll likely notice your vision gets back to normal. 
Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are a common complaint during pregnancy, especially during the final trimester. Staying hydrated can help you ward off dry eyes and using moisturizing eye drops may also help. Like blurry vision, dry eyes are hormonal and typically resolve themselves. However, since it can be the symptom of a more serious condition like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia, you should ask your doctor if it persists. 
Puffy Eyes

Even if you aren’t experiencing restless nights during pregnancy, you may wake to find that you have puffy eyes. This is due to hormonal changes and fluid retention, and it’s a very common side effect. Temporarily, applying a cold compress can relieve the puffiness until your fluid and hormone levels shift back to normal. Mild puffiness may come along with fatigue, but if you find yourself with severe puffiness and/or headaches, ask your doctor. 
Vision Changes to Ask Your Doctor About During Pregnancy 

Wondering what’s normal and what isn’t? If you experience any of the following visual changes, be sure to talk to your doctor. 
Flashing Lights or Spots

Visual anomalies like flashing lights or spots may be a sign of a more serious condition like pre-eclampsia. If you’re experiencing these, especially together with headaches or high blood pressure, speak to your doctor. 
Preeclampsia is a potentially serious condition that affects up to 8% of pregnancies. If you have it, you might also have blurry vision, light sensitivity, and temporary vision loss. If untreated, it can lead to eclampsia and seizures. 
Eye Pain or Discomfort 

If you experience any sort of eye pain or discomfort during pregnancy, it’s worth speaking to your eye doctor. Around 10% of pregnant women in the United States suffer from a temporary form of diabetes known as gestational diabetes. There are many side effects, but blurred vision, eye pain, discomfort, and vision loss are all potential symptoms. Treating gestational diabetes during pregnancy is essential to preserving your vision health so you can see your little one grow.
What To Do If You Have Eye Health Concerns

While all the focus might be on the baby during the coming months, it’s important that you take time away to nurture your own health. After all, your little one is going to need you more than ever once they’re born, so don’t overlook any visual changes or health questions you may have during pregnancy. Reach out to your eye doctor today for a comprehensive eye exam to check for gestational diabetes, protect your eye health, and keep you feeling your best.

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