Postpartum Vision Changes: Reasons, Symptoms & Treatment

Change in Vision After Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

A woman’s body goes through a lot of changes during and after pregnancy, and hormones are responsible for these changes. One such change that most new mothers would notice is related to their vision. The changing levels of hormones and fluids within your body can cause changes in your vision. About fifty percent of pregnant women are prone to these changes. While you may have noticed changes in your vision in the second trimester, they become more prominent in the third trimester and postpartum. Hormonal changes can also lead to dry eyes after pregnancy. Most of the changes abate and your vision becomes normal, but after a few months of childbirth. Here’s all you need to know about vision change after pregnancy.

What Causes a Change in Vision Post Pregnancy?

Blurred vision is a pregnancy symptom caused due to hormonal changes. However, a change in vision may also be due to a cause not related to pregnancy. Hence, you should consult an optometrist.

Some of the causes of vision changes post-pregnancy include:

1. Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy. In this condition, a woman has high blood pressure and her kidneys function abnormally. High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause CNS irritation or cerebral oedema and, hence, you may have blurred vision. It is recommended that you visit your gynaecologist to keep your blood pressure in check.

Preeclampsia

2. Gestational Diabetes

The blood sugar levels of women with gestational diabetes keep fluctuating during pregnancy. Due to this constant change, the blood vessels attached to the retina may get damaged. This can affect eyesight and cause blurred vision.

3. Pituitary Adenoma

The formation of a tumour in the pituitary gland of the women may alter the functioning of the hormone secretion and lead to vision problems. This, however, is a very rare problem.

5. Lower Fluid Retention

After giving birth to a child, the fluid retention capacity of a woman’s eye ducts lowers. This can alter the shape of the cornea, leading to blurred or distorted vision.

6. Hormonal Fluctuations

Pregnancy leads to significant hormonal changes in the body, which can affect the eyes and vision. These hormonal fluctuations can lead to temporary changes in vision, such as blurred vision or dry eyes.

Symptoms of Vision Problems After Pregnancy

Some of the symptoms of postpartum vision loss or eye problems include:

  • Sensitivity to light – Bright lights may irritate your eyes.
  • Dizziness – Blurred vision may lead to a feeling of dizziness and nausea.
  • Double vision – Outlines may seem blurred and you might see images overlapping.
  • Intermittent blur – This can happen occasionally, where certain things, like road signs, appear blurred.
  • Strain on eyes – Your eyes will feel tired and stressed all the time.
  • Flashes and floaters- Bright flashes of light or wavy lines in the sight of your vision may appear due to retinal detachment, caused by strained pushing during labour.

Symptoms of Vision Problems After Pregnancy

How to Treat Postpartum Vision Problems?

Postpartum vision problems rarely cause permanent vision changes after pregnancy. Many of the changes can go back to normal a few months after the baby is born. But, in a few women, this warrants a new prescription, due to permanent changes in vision.

Here are a few treatment options for postpartum vision problems:

1. For Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be one of the main reasons for blurred vision. You can fix this by using some saline drops, like the ones used by contact lens users. You can also get eye drops prescribed by an ophthalmologist and use them. Do not buy over-the-counter drops, which may worsen your condition. Play safe.

2. For Blurred Vision

Blurred vision often abates after pregnancy, but if it continues, visit an ophthalmologist to get your eyes tested. If blurred vision continues for over 6 to 8 months, it can be time to consider a new prescription.

3. For Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia or high blood pressure, as mentioned, can affect the retinal blood vessels and cause vision problems. Hence, it is important that you visit your gynaecologist to keep your blood pressure in check during pregnancy. You may be prescribed corticosteroids or anticonvulsants.

4. For Gestational Diabetes

Blurred vision can also be due to an inherent diabetic condition. The first step is to switch to a healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid the risk factors of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes happens to pregnant women. Post-pregnancy, you can lead a healthy lifestyle to stay healthy and fit. However, if you already have high sugar levels, your gynaecologist can prescribe medications to keep it under control.

5. Addressing Permanent Vision Loss

Vision changes post-pregnancy are common, but not always it is because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. It is important to note that these changes may not have been a part of pregnancy at all. Hence, it is important to visit an ophthalmologist in case you notice continued changes in vision. You may be prescribed new glasses or contact lenses.

How to Prevent Vision Change After Pregnancy?

Maintaining good eye health during and after pregnancy is important. While some postpartum vision changes can be common due to hormonal fluctuations and other factors, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of significant eyesight changes after pregnancy. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Prenatal Care: Attend all prenatal check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor any potential health issues that might affect your vision.
  • Manage Gestational Diabetes: If you have gestational diabetes, work closely with your healthcare team to keep your blood sugar levels under control, as high blood sugar can impact vision.
  • Stay Hydrated: It is very important to stay well hydrated for overall health, including eye health. Drink plenty of water throughout pregnancy.
  • Eye Protection: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays when outdoors.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can support eye health. Include food items like fish, carrots, and leafy greens in your diet.
  • Limit Screen Time: Reduce eye strain by limiting screen time and taking frequent breaks when using digital devices.
  • Regular Eye Exams: Schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist before, during, and after pregnancy to monitor your eye health and address any issues promptly.
  • Report Changes: If you notice any sudden or significant changes in your vision during or after pregnancy, consult with an eye specialist immediately.

When to Consult the Eye Doctor?

Consult an eye doctor immediately if you experience any of the following postpartum eye issues:

  • Sudden, severe vision loss.
  • Persistent blurry or distorted vision.
  • Flashes of light or new floaters.
  • Pain or redness in the eyes.
  • Double vision that doesn’t resolve.
  • Any other concerning or unusual visual symptoms.

Pregnancy-induced vision changes may be due to various reasons. It may also scare many women, but remember that there are ways to overcome this. Being informed about it is the best way to deal with the problem, so you can consult a doctor in time.

References/Resources:

1. Dinn. R, Harris. A, Marcus. P; Ocular changes in pregnancy; National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12555046/; February 2003

2. Landon. M, Gabbe. S; Gestational diabetes mellitus; National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22105269/; December 2011

3. Szmuilowicz. E, Josefson. J, Metzger. B; Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008467/; June 2019

4. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) During Pregnancy; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4497-gestational-hypertension

5. Cheung. A, Scott. I; Ocular Changes During Pregnancy; American Academy of Ophthalmology; https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/ocular-changes-during-pregnancy; May 2012

6. Samra. K; The eye and visual system in the preeclampsia/eclampsia syndrome: What to expect?; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3729391/; April 2012

7. Blurry Vision While Pregnant; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/23114-blurry-vision-pregnancy

8. Mackensen. F, Paulus. W, Max. R, Ness. T; Ocular Changes During Pregnancy; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165189/; August 2014

Also Read:

Postpartum Insomnia
Postpartum Backpain
Postpartum Urinary Incontinence 
Hormonal Imbalance after Pregnancy

Previous article «
Next article »