Are you pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant? If so, and you are a current or prospective contact lens wearer, there are a few things to consider. Pregnancy causes changes to occur all over the body, such as swelling of ankles and hands, changes in blood pressure and circulation, as well as the many changes caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Just like the rest of the body, a woman’s eyes and eyesight are affected by pregnancy.
Because a woman’s body retains more water during pregnancy, it can cause swelling in many areas of the body including the eyes. Slight changes in the thickness of the cornea, as well as the shape of the cornea occur. Because measurements of the shape and thickness of the cornea are important when fitting a patient for contact lenses, pregnancy may not be the best time to go for a new contact lens fitting.
If a woman does decide to be fitted for contact lenses during pregnancy, it is very important to understand that after the baby is born, and the body begins to return to a more normal state, the contact lenses that are prescribed while pregnant may not be as comfortable to wear and may not provide the best vision correction for the wearer.
For current contact lens wearers, problems with general irritation of the eyes and dry eyes seem to be common during pregnancy. This can make the contact lenses that are currently being worn become harder to wear for long periods. Some women even have to discontinue use of contact lenses during pregnancy because of the irritation experienced while wearing their lenses. While seeing an eye care professional to be perhaps be fitted in another type of contact lens is an option, it not a guarantee that irritation and dryness will not be experienced again as the pregnant body continues to change.
Backup Eyeglasses Recommended
Since the contact lens prescription and fit could change again after the baby is born, it is important to consider costs of an entirely new examination and supply of contact lenses for a relatively short period of time. Many insurance plans will only cover contact lenses or glasses one time each year, and that is something else to keep in mind.
A better option may be to purchase a pair of eyeglasses to wear while pregnant. It will be even more important for a new mother to have a backup pair of eyeglasses in case contact lenses are damaged or an eye infection occurs, as being able to see clearly will be very important. It will also help out when a new mother has to wake up for late night feedings. Instead of having to insert contact lenses each time, she can just put on a pair of glasses and go!
Almost every woman will experience at least some vision changes during the course of the entire pregnancy. Most commonly, if a woman already requires a prescription for corrective eyewear, she will experience a shift in her prescription, becoming slightly more myopic, or nearsighted than before she became pregnant.
Those women that do not require a prescription for corrective lenses may notice a slight blur when viewing distance objects such as the television or street and highway signs. This blur may be most noticeable with night driving. Whether woman already wears corrective lenses or not, this shift toward nearsightedness may be very slight and require no prescription for those who do not currently wear contact lenses or glasses, and no change in prescription for women who already wear corrective eyewear of some kind.
If the shift in prescription is noticeable, and you feel like you either need vision correction or a change in your current prescription, you will want to schedule an examination with an eye care professional. Make sure to inform the technicians and doctor that you are pregnant and how far along you are.