Ocular Changes In Pregnancy


Some Transient Eye Changes in Pregnancy

Have you noticed that sometimes as the baby in your tommy is growing, your vision is suddenly getting blurry or you may develop some other eye problems, which were not present before the pregnancy?
Well, you have to remember that in pregnancy, there are series of interplay of hormones which affects the physiology of the woman’s body and of course the eye, as well.
However, many of these changes in normal pregnancy are transient in nature. Occasionally though, they may be linger even after pregnancy, also preexisting eye conditions can worsen or get better in pregnancy!pregnancy and the eye
  • Darkening of the eyelid areas – This is referred to as melasma or chloasma (or simply put… ‘the mask of pregnancy’) which result from increased activity of the melanocyte of the skin as they produce more melanin. This increase in pigmentation is associated with increased estrogen and progesterone levels. However, this is only for a while, it vanishes almost completely by postpartum.
  • Peppery eyes – This is due to changes in normal constituent of tears of the eyes that serves as lubricant, thereby making the pregnant mother’s eye drier and sometimes, feeling of sandy sensation in the eye.
  • Blurry vision – You may notice that your current prescription glasses, no longer works as before.prescription glass in pregnancyThis is due to changes in the thickness of the cornea and the lens, and resultant fluid accumulation within these tissues. So pregnancy may not be an ideal time for laser eye surgery or fitting in a new contact lens. Water retention and the distorted vision may even linger up till lactation but will in most cases, vanish with time.
  • Near – sightedness – Some women notice that in pregnancy, they are a bit more nearsighted than at ordinary times. This too is transient most of the time.nearsightedness in pregnancy
  • Seeing Floaters – Some pregnant women complain of seeing tiny strands, spots moving slowly before the eyes as if they are floating. This may happen in early pregnancy but is mostly noticed as pregnancy advances, predominantly in the third trimester of the pregnancy. During this stage of pregnancy, the hyaloid artery regresses to provide nutrients to the developing lens in the growing fetus, but it may not regress completely, the remnants are thus perceived as floaters. However, it is wise to complain to your eye specialist, to rule out any serious condition.
  • Ptosis – This refers to the drooping of eyelids. It is also due to fluid retention and hormonal. It requires no treatment.
    Medically Reviewed by:
    Dr H.C. Ogbuehi (MBBS, FMC Oph., FWACS)
    (Consultant Ophthalmologist; Fellow, West African College of Surgeons)

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