Effects of pregnancy on your vision: Here is how you can manage them

Women have a higher burden of visual impairment and blindness than men

Dr Sandeep ButtanUpdated: Saturday, May 28, 2022, 09:35 PM IST
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Pregnancy causes a series of changes in the female body that make them more vulnerable to certain eye problems. /Representative image |

Do you know that women have a higher burden of visual impairment and blindness than men, primarily due to social and cultural factors? Women in India's majority of households, particularly in rural areas, have limited freedom and ability to make decisions about many elements of their lives.

Many families have tight social structures that define men's and women's roles, which are often codified in religious, tribal, and societal traditions. These limits frequently dictate the conditions in which women have or do not have the freedom to make health-related decisions.

However, pregnancy causes a series of changes in the female body that make them more vulnerable to certain eye problems. The majority of these are minor, but they do require special attention because they may contribute to increased stress during this period. Therefore, it is important to ensure good eye health during this time.

The following are some changes and suggestions to watch for during pregnancy.

a. Blurred vision

Blurred vision is a common symptom of pregnancy hormone swings and can continue during the entire pregnancy. However, when you one sees floaters or lines in front of the eyes, it is important to visit the doctor for an eye check up. This will prevent them from any potential complications of eye and overall health during the pregnancy period.

b. Refractive error

Refractive error is one of the most prevalent disorders that women face during pregnancy. During pregnancy, higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone are linked to a higher risk of developing refractive defects (either myopia or hyperopia). The cause of this Refractive Error is fluid retention in the cornea, which is triggered by oestrogen and progesterone.

c. Intolerance towards contact lenses

Due to the enlargement of the cornea and pap changes, contact lens sensitivity is common during pregnancy. Because of the hormonal changes, there are many cases of dry eyes during pregnancy. Contact lenses can be uncomfortable. Pregnant women may want to take it off after a few hours because their eyes become quite dry. Therefore, it is important to get the eye specialist’s advise on the condition. Basis their opinion, you may discontinue the use of lenses for a while.

d. Glaucoma treatment during pregnancy

Glaucoma is an eye condition characterised by unusually high levels of fluid in the eyeball. This causes an increase in eyeball pressure, which can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

Glaucoma is treated using a variety of medications. Although some are given as tablets, the majority are given as eye drops. To fully control their glaucoma, some people may need a combination of medications.

When considering whether or not to use glaucoma medicines while pregnant, consider how vital they are to your health and vision versus any potential hazards.

Glaucoma must be treated properly during pregnancy because untreated or poorly controlled glaucoma might result in permanent vision loss. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide which glaucoma treatment is best for you. He/ She may advise you to alter the medication depending on the situation.

(Dr Sandeep Buttan is Technical Lead Eye Health ASIA, Sightsavers-international charity working to prevent avoidable blindness, support equality for people with disabilities and advocate for change)

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