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During pregnancy, it is common for some women to experience eye problems. Pregnancy is the time when women go through a lot of physical and hormonal changes as they prepare for childbirth and nursing. The changing pregnancy hormones and augmented blood circulation may make pregnant women susceptible to infections, and they may develop dry or watery eyes. Although most of the eye infections during pregnancy disappear on their own, they may cause discomfort to the expectant mother. In this article, we shall talk about the kind of eye issues pregnant women are most likely to experience and how they can deal with it.
Eye Infections Pregnant Ladies Are Likely to Experience
These eye infections are most likely to happen due to physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy.
1. Dry Eyes
Most pregnant women develop dry eyes during pregnancy due to decreased tear production. When the tear production decreases, eyes become dry and eventually appear red. Quite often, a burning sensation is also felt. They may also turn sensitive to sunlight. Refer to an eye doctor who may suggest mild eye drops to resolve this issue. In case the problem continues despite using eye drops as recommended by the doctor, you may want to fix another appointment for a second eye checkup.
2. Weak Eyesight
This condition may develop during the second trimester, wherein the vision appears to have become weak. Weak eyesight commonly happens because of increased fluid retention by the body due to the fluctuating pregnancy hormones. In case you use contact lenses, you should opt for glasses to switch back to your old lenses when the eyesight is back to the way it was. You can also seek your eye doctor’s advice regarding other feasible options. Weak eyesight is likely to correct itself after childbirth.
3. Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis refers to a condition in which conjunctiva, a thin membrane that shapes the eyelid and shelters the front part of the eye gets inflamed. The eye may look bloodshot as blood vessels on the eye’s surface dilate or widen, forcing additional blood into the eye. Usually, the pink eye has other symptoms too like pain in the eyes, irritation, burning or itching, swelling of the infected eye, and watery discharge. Conjunctivitis in pregnancy may get triggered by an allergy, infection (viral or bacterial), stress on the eyes, plugged tear duct, or chronic dry eyes. Conjunctivitis is a contagious condition and thus should be treated promptly. Your eye doctor, on evaluation, may determine the cause of your conjunctivitis and then recommend antibiotics, if necessary. Alternatively applying a cool washcloth on the affected eye may provide some relief from the irritation.
Puffiness is another issue pregnant women commonly experience due to water retention. Excessive intake of salt and coffee can also cause puffiness in pregnant women.
We recommend you visit an eye specialist for immediate treatment of the eye infection. However, you will need to take additional care to bring about faster healing and to ensure you do not get the eye infection again.
Tips to Take Care of Eye Infection During Pregnancy
Here are some tips to help you deal with eye infection during pregnancy:
1. Maintain Good Hygiene
Observing basic hygiene is the most important thing that can prove helpful in preventing eye infection. Bear in mind to wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. It is also not a good idea to share towels.
2. Cold Water Splashes
Splashing or washing your eyes with cold water several times in a day may eradicate the presence of any foreign bodies in the eyes and bring relief from irritation and puffiness. Then again, putting a cold pack on the infected eye can aid in soothing the dilated blood vessels in the eye.
3. Warm Compress
Gently applying a warm compress at regular intervals to the affected eye can help in easing out some of the pain and inflammation.
4. Avoid Eye Makeup
In case you are prone to allergies, it is best to stay away from using eye makeup during pregnancy to avoid eye infections.
5. Protection for Eyes
Always remember to wear a pair of good sunglasses when stepping out to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays of the sun, dust, and other pollutants.
6. Avoid Contact Lenses
As much as possible, avoid wearing contact lenses because dry eyes and infections can worsen the situation and increase the discomfort or pain. For a while, or at least till the eyesight is back to normal, wear glasses instead.
An eye infection during pregnancy is usually temporary conditions which may get automatically cured after delivery. During pregnancy, self-medication or taking over-the-counter eye drops should be avoided to prevent any probable pregnancy complications. One has to be careful while taking medication, especially antibiotics during pregnancy. So, it is always desirable to consult a medical practitioner for treatment of eye infections during pregnancy.
Also Read: 22 Infections That Can Affect Your Pregnancy