Pregnancy and Contact Lenses

During pregnancy, your eyesight can be affected by such things as hormone changes, metabolism, blood pressure fluctuations or water retention, with various symptoms that may make wearing contact lenses during pregnancy uncomfortable. Here we outline what some of these changes may be, and possible short term solutions. However, if you notice your vision changing during pregnancy, you should always consult your doctor, as this may indicate other underlying health problems.

A common complaint of pregnant women wearing contact lenses is that their eyes feel dry. This is related to hormonal changes, and can also be experienced during breast feeding, whereby the amount or content of tears change, resulting in tears that are not lubricating enough. Symptoms include a gritty feel in the eyes, dry eyes, irritated, burning and itching eyes, sensitivity to light or excessive tears. This may come and go during the day, but some women can be very affected by it. Short term solutions can be using artificial tears or over the counter medications, but these must be used with caution in case they are not safe during pregnancy. Avoid conditions that irritate the eyes, such as wind, smoke, and dry heat, and reduce the length of time spent in front of the computer without a break. Blinking frequency often decreases when working at a computer which may exacerbate the problem. Wearing contact lenses for shorter periods of time may also offer some relief. It is always advisable to visit your doctor if you suffer from any of these symptoms during pregnancy.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Other problems experienced by pregnant women wearing contact lenses are they may find their lenses become ill-fitting and move or fall out, in particular when rubbing the eyes, or they may notice small changes in their vision even when wearing their lenses. This can be caused by the eye changing shape due to hormonal fluctuations, or blood pressure fluctuations causing swelling of the eye. The cornea >> (the front of the eye where light enters) may thicken during pregnancy, making contact lenses uncomfortable to wear, and possibly altering the vision slightly. It is best to consult your doctor if this occurs. As vision and discomfort often return to normal post-pregnancy, paying for a new contact lens or glasses prescription is often unnecessary.  Instead, try to wear contact lenses for shorter periods of time, and wear glasses where possible.

Other eye symptoms pregnant women should be aware of, regardless of whether they wear contact lenses or not, is double or blurry vision, sensitivity to light, a temporary loss of vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, swelling or puffiness around the eyes, or eye pain and redness. These symptoms can indicate high blood pressure during pregnancy, called preeclampsia. Immediately consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Most of the symptoms described here, such as dry eyes, disappear in the months after pregnancy, therefore only short term solutions should be sought. Never undertake long term solutions, such as corrective laser eye surgery, during pregnancy, and always visit your doctor to discuss any concerns.

Article produced with advice and contact lense information from Lens Shopper >>