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Blurred Vision During Pregnancy

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Author : Dr Deepak Garg
blurry vision during pregnancy

Women go through a variety of physical changes throughout pregnancy as their bodies adjust to the growth and development of a new life. Some commonly known symptoms are morning sickness, nausea, swollen ankles and more. Few women may experience less common issues. Distorted vision or blurring is one such change that some women may experience. Pregnancy-related blurred vision is a transient blurring of vision where objects appear hazy, fuzzy, or out of focus. The severity and duration of this phenomena might vary, and it frequently happens as a result of hormonal changes, adjustments to the fluid balance, and an increase in blood volume. Even though it is typically accepted as a normal and benign pregnancy symptom, it is crucial for pregnant moms to comprehend its causes, potential hazards, and when to seek medical assistance in order to protect the health of both mother and child.

Vision changes and Pregnancy: Overview

As was previously noted, hazy vision is one of the most typical alterations in vision that occur during pregnancy. Hormonal abnormalities, notably variations in estrogen and progesterone levels, can cause blurred vision. These hormones may have an impact on the composition and production of tears, which can cause dry eyes and a brief decline in visual acuity.

An increase in intraocular pressure, or the fluid pressure inside the eyes, is another frequent event. This can be brought on by variations in blood volume and hormonal factors, and it may result in a tiny alteration in the shape of the eyeball, impairing correct focus. As a result, some pregnant women may have nearsightedness or farsightedness, which usually goes away after giving birth.

Pregnancy also frequently results in fluid retention, which can cause swelling or edema in many bodily areas, including the eyes. The extra fluid can cause the cornea, the clear front portion of the eye, to thicken, changing its refractive characteristics and affecting vision.

It is important to note that these transient minor vision abnormalities are typically regarded as normal. When hormonal levels are at their highest in the second trimester, they frequently show symptoms. However, each woman may have a different experience, and some may not even detect any noticeable alterations to their vision.

It is crucial for pregnant women to monitor their eyesight carefully and notify their healthcare provider of any significant or concerning changes. While most instances are brief and benign, it’s important to note that some vision changes related to pregnancy could indicate more serious conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure. Timely medical attention can help identify and address any underlying issues, ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the unborn child,

When can blurred vision occur during the pregnancy?

Although there is no specific pattern noted for pregnancy related blurred vision and it is linked with hormonal changes; maximum amounts of changes occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, thus, women are most likely to experience blurred vision, early on during the pregnancy. Any sudden loss of vision thought at any stage of pregnancy should be treated as a medical emergency.

Does blurry vision indicate pregnancy complications?

Although blurred vision during pregnancy cannot cause any complications in pregnancy, it may be one of the early signs of a potential complication. There are two common problems that exhibit blurry vision as one of the symptoms:

  1. Gestational diabetes: This condition presents as abnormally high blood sugar levels in pregnant women. Developing gestational diabetes doesn’t imply that you’ve always had diabetes. Typically, hormonal changes that occur between the second and third trimester of pregnancy can lead to the manifestation of gestational diabetes. In India, the prevalence of gestational diabetes is between 10% to 14%, which is considerably higher compared to Western countries. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain regular follow-ups with your doctor. If suspected, it’s recommended to continue consulting with an endocrinologist who can monitor your blood sugar levels. Additionally, scheduling appointments with an eye doctor for retinal examinations is crucial, as the earliest signs of diabetes complications often appear in the retinal blood vessels.
  1. Preeclampsia: This condition presents as abnormally high blood pressure in pregnant women. Similar to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia typically develops after the second trimester of pregnancy and is considered concerning for both the mother and the developing fetus. Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include blood pressure readings exceeding 140/90 mm Hg, the presence of protein in urine, swelling, and headaches. Diagnosis is usually made by your doctor based on your reported symptoms and clinical findings. A recent study conducted in Kerala and published in the January 2023 issue of Gynecology and Obstetrics Clinical Medicine reported an incidence rate of preeclampsia ranging between 5% to 15%. The study critically reviewed hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, concluding that no well-established measures currently exist to predict the onset of this condition. Therefore, regular follow-ups and monitoring are crucial to prevent hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. 

Some women may also experience reduced visual fields, potentially due to the impact of hypertensive disorders on the optic nerve. Thus, it is advisable to undergo routine eye exams during pregnancy, or at the very least, when you begin to experience visual disturbances.exams done during the pregnancy or at least when you start experiencing the visual disturbances. 

Managing blurred vision and other vision changes during pregnancy:

The health of the expectant mother and the growing baby depends on how the pregnant woman handles vision changes such as blurriness.

  1. Regular prenatal check-ups with an eye doctor should be prioritized in order to monitor any vision changes because hormonal changes and an increase in blood volume might have an impact on the eyes.
  2. Reducing vision problems can also be aided by keeping sufficient hydration and a balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, especially those that are good for eye health like vitamin A, C, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. It’s best to get enough sleep and to avoid staring at screens for long periods of time. It is important to get immediate medical assistance if you have sudden or severe visual changes, such as double vision or light flashes, in order to rule out any dangerous problems.

By adopting these preventative steps, you may ensure that your pregnancy is as easy and joyful as possible while promoting optimal eye health.

Prevention and Self-Care Tips for Maintaining Eye Health during Pregnancy:

You can promote and maintain optimal eye health throughout pregnancy by adapting these preventive steps and self-care suggestions into your daily routine, guaranteeing a safe and joyful path towards motherhood. Following are a few self-care tips to maintain optimal eye health during pregnancy:

  1. Schedule routine eye exams with an eye care specialist to monitor any changes in vision and address any potential abnormalities as soon as they arise throughout pregnancy.
  2. A balanced diet should contain vitamins and minerals that support eye health, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, C, and E. Fish, colorful fruits, and leafy greens can all be helpful in this regard.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Keeping your body properly hydrated is crucial for sustaining healthy eyes. To prevent dryness or irritation and to keep your eyes moist, drink plenty of water.
  4. Manage Gestational Diabetes: It’s important to regulate blood sugar levels if you have gestational diabetes since uncontrolled diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy and other eye issues.
  5. Limit extended screen time and take breaks if you must use a computer or watch TV in order to avoid eye strain. This lessens the chance of headaches and vision haze while also preventing digital eye strain.
  6. Use Adequate Lighting: To reduce eye strain, use adequate lighting when reading or performing any other visually demanding activity.
  7. Rest Your Eyes: Get enough sleep and rest to avoid eye fatigue and to keep your eyes healthy.
  8. Wash your hands frequently to prevent eye infections, particularly after touching your face or putting eye drops in.
  9. Resolve any eye discomfort Consult an eye care specialist right away if you suffer any sudden or significant changes in your vision, eye pain, or discomfort in order to rule out any serious disorders.

Can one wear contact lenses during pregnancy?

Yes, wearing contact lenses during pregnancy is completely safe and one can wear them according to their optometrist’s instruction. However, there could be some amount of dryness that the lady can experience as there are hormonal changes occurring throughout the gestational period. Even though the tear production is not affected, one may need to use artificial tears over contact lenses.

If you are experiencing any sudden changes in vision during your pregnancy, please do not hesitate to contact our esteemed team of top-tier eye specialists and experts at Eye Solutions. We have fully-equipped Eye Hospitals in both Mumbai and Chennai. Book your appointment today for a thorough and comprehensive eye examination. Your visual well-being is our priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does blurry vision last in pregnancy?

Depending on the cause of the blurry vision, it may be self-resolving or may require specific treatment. In case of just hormonal changes, it is a transient blurry vision which is self-resolving. However, one must not ignore this sign and always consult the concerned healthcare professional. Vision usually returns to normal toward the end of your pregnancy or within a few months after delivery.

2. Is sudden blurry vision during pregnancy normal?

Sudden blurry vision, temporary vision loss, and flashes of light during pregnancy is not normal and has to be addressed immediately by an eye doctor.

3. Are there any specific eye exercises or activities that can help with sudden blurry vision during pregnancy?

Eye exercises have not shown clear scientific evidence in improving blurry vision per se, however, they are meant to improve the muscle imbalances of the eye. If the cause of blurry vision is diagnosed as a result of ocular muscles’ imbalance, then your eye doctor may prescribe certain scientifically proven eye exercises, known as vision therapy.

4. Can stress or fatigue contribute to sudden blurry vision in pregnancy?

Stress induces release of cortisol in our body which is a corticosteroid produced by our body. High amounts of chronic stress increase the levels of cortisol in our body can lead to a swelling in the retina which can cause blurry vision.

5. Can sudden blurry vision in pregnancy affect the health of the baby?

Sudden blurry vision can be a sign of Gestational Diabetes or Preeclampsia which can affect both the mother and the growing fetus’s health.

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