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Are Vision Changes During Pregnancy Normal?

Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

image of woman having an eye exam

 

There is an old medical teaching that the eye, in a way, is a window in to the brain.  The idea is that if there is good eye health, there is likely good brain health, as well.

 

Many pregnant women that I see in my practice ask about subtle changes they notice in their vision, and ask whether they should visit their eye care providers about updating their prescriptions.  For the vast majority of my patients, the answer is “no”.  As women retain more fluid during pregnancy, subtle changes in eye shape may occur. Consequently, changes in vision may temporarily occur, which generally resolves after delivery.

 

Some women, however, should have eye examinations during pregnancy. Included in this category are those at risk for retinal (back of the eye) disorders, such as long standing diabetic patients and patients with glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye).

 

Certain symptoms/conditions in pregnancy should always be considered abnormal until proven otherwise.  These symptoms/conditions include significantly blurred vision, double vision, light sensitivity, vision loss, or flashes in one’s visual field.  In these cases, visiting either one’s obstetrician or going to an emergency department would be in order to evaluate for preeclampsia (a high blood pressure disorder of pregnancy), vascular disorders of the brain (like an aneurysm or a stroke), or even (very rarely) an abnormal mass within the brain that would affect vision.

 

 

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.

Are Vision Changes During Pregnancy Normal?

09/30/2015 - Contributed by: Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

image of woman having an eye exam

 

There is an old medical teaching that the eye, in a way, is a window in to the brain.  The idea is that if there is good eye health, there is likely good brain health, as well.

 

Many pregnant women that I see in my practice ask about subtle changes they notice in their vision, and ask whether they should visit their eye care providers about updating their prescriptions.  For the vast majority of my patients, the answer is “no”.  As women retain more fluid during pregnancy, subtle changes in eye shape may occur. Consequently, changes in vision may temporarily occur, which generally resolves after delivery.

 

Some women, however, should have eye examinations during pregnancy. Included in this category are those at risk for retinal (back of the eye) disorders, such as long standing diabetic patients and patients with glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye).

 

Certain symptoms/conditions in pregnancy should always be considered abnormal until proven otherwise.  These symptoms/conditions include significantly blurred vision, double vision, light sensitivity, vision loss, or flashes in one’s visual field.  In these cases, visiting either one’s obstetrician or going to an emergency department would be in order to evaluate for preeclampsia (a high blood pressure disorder of pregnancy), vascular disorders of the brain (like an aneurysm or a stroke), or even (very rarely) an abnormal mass within the brain that would affect vision.

 

 

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.