Blurry Vision in Pregnancy: Causes and Management

During pregnancy the common symptoms a female expect are pain in lower back or morning sickness. However, you may be surprised to have vision changes such as a blurry vision pregnancy. The physical and hormonal changes of pregnancy may have an effect on your eyesight, but most of the issues are usually temporary and minor and your vision will become normal in a few weeks after the birth of your baby. However, certain problems such as diabetes and preeclampsia may need medical attention.

Possible Causes of Blurry Vision in Pregnancy

There are various reasons of blurry vision during pregnancy, including:

1.  Reduced production of tears: The production of tears is reduced due to pregnancy hormones, which result in dryness, discomfort and irritation of eyes. This may lead to reduced visual acuity along with blurry vision.

2.  Increased pressure in eyes: Pregnancy hormones also result in buildup or retention of fluid in the eyes, similar to the way they cause swelling in your feet or ankles. This affects your cornea and lens, changing their shape and thickness. Furthermore, the pressure of fluid in the eyeball gets changed making your vision hazy.

3.  Softened corneal tissue: Another reason for blurry vision during pregnancy is softening of cornea caused by increased amount of progesterone in the body due to pregnancy. Progesterone is produced in excess to soften the collagen and cartilage in the pelvic area of a pregnant female to prepare for the baby’s passage and it acts in a similar way on the corneal tissue.

4.  Reduced immunity: During pregnancy, the body’s immune defenses are shifted towards the fetus to protect it. Due to these temporary immune system changes the pregnant female becomes more prone to developing infections such as pink eye which may result in blurry vision pregnancy.

5.  Poor peripheral vision: Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the peripheral vision is also reduced in some pregnant females. However, the eyesight returns to normal once the infant is born.

6.  Preeclampsia: Changes in vision may indicate this serious disease that may occur in some (3-5%) pregnant females. This disease causes high blood pressure and symptoms of change in vision such as blurred vision (due to swelling of retina), sensitivity to light, loss of vision, or seeing flashing lights, auras or spots. If these symptoms are associated with vomiting, headaches, pain in abdomen or sudden swelling in limbs and face, then you should visit your physician or emergency room immediately. Preeclampsia can rapidly progress and result in bleeding or other serious illness.

7.  Diabetes: High levels of blood sugar associated with diabetes can damage capillaries supplying the retina. The chances of this damage are more as you advance in your pregnancy. Blurry vision can also occur due to gestational diabetes, which is a temporary kind of diabetes affecting females during pregnancy. In case you suffer from diabetes, monitor it closely during your pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes, ensure that your levels of blood sugar are within normal range. Your physician will help in this regard.

8.  High blood pressure: You may also get blurry vision during pregnancy due to high blood pressure or due to pregnancy induced hypertension.

Blurred vision during pregnancy is not a disease but it is a symptom of the changes in the structure of the eyeball that occurs during pregnancy. Blurry vision may also be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Dryness and irritation in eyes
  • Discomfort and itching
  • Seeing flashing lights or spots in the field of vision
  • Floaters
  • Double vision
  • Dimming of vision

When should you visit your physician?

As already discussed, in some cases the symptoms of blurry vision pregnancy can indicate more serious illness such as preeclampsia, hypertension or diabetes. Hence, if you notice symptoms of spots, flashes of light, floaters or dimming vision persistently or any of the symptoms of these serious illnesses mentioned above, you should contact your physician immediately.

Management of Blurry Vision During Pregnancy

If you are having problems with only slight blurry vision your physician may not provide any treatment. However, you can take the following steps to decrease the discomfort:

  • Use eye drops that are safe for pregnancy: In case there is dryness of eyes, you can use eye drops that are lubricating, also referred to as “artificial tears.” They are affordable, safe and easily available as over-the-counter drops. However, you should check with your physician whether you can use them during your pregnancy. You can also ask your physician to recommend some pregnancy safe drops for you.

  • Don’t wear contact lenses during pregnancy: During pregnancy, the shape and thickness of your lens and cornea changes, using contact lens will worsen your problems of vision. Hence, if you had been wearing contacts before pregnancy, switch to glasses while you are pregnant. You will be able to use contact lenses again about three to six months after giving birth to your baby.
  • Give your eyes appropriate rest: Pregnancy is a stressful and tiring time for pregnant females. Hence, you should ensure that your eyes and your whole body get plenty of rest all through the pregnancy. Don’t stare at the screen of a computer, laptop, phone, tablet ,etc. for long duration. Get enough sleep as it also helps decrease the stress and strain on the eyes and prevent blurry vision pregnancy.
  • Don’t get a LASIK surgery: The majority of the eye experts recommend against getting LASIK surgery 6 months before conceiving, during pregnancy and 6 months after weaning, in case you have breastfed your baby. The surgery may result in over correction that may need another surgery in future.

If the changes in vision are due to a severe underlying medical condition, you have to undergo the required treatment that is recommended by the physician. Hence, you should inform your physician about your vision changes during pregnancy.

Other Changes in Vision and Eyes that May Happen During Pregnancy

The functioning of lachrymal gland cells may get disrupted due to pregnancy. This leads to reduced production of tears and symptoms of dry eyes. Pregnancy may also cause a reduction in intraocular pressure, an effect, which more commonly occurs in females who have ocular hypertension. Hormonal changes of pregnancy may also result in drooping of eyelid or ptosis.