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Pregnancy and Laser Eye Surgery

As a general rule, it’s best to avoid all unnecessary interventions during pregnancy. This includes laser eye surgery. If you’re keen to improve your vision afterwards, it’s advised to wait a minimum of 3 months until after you deliver.
One specific reason to avoid laser eye surgery during pregnancy is that your vision may change, with some women requiring a change in their spectacle prescription. This could mean, for example, you become more short-sighted. Rest assured, these changes are usually temporary, with normal vision returning after pregnancy. A temporary update in you glasses is one thing, but you certainly don’t want to have laser eye surgery based on a spectacle prescription that isn’t stable.
One specific reason to avoid laser eye surgery during pregnancy is that your vision may change, with some women requiring a change in their spectacle prescription. This could mean, for example, you become more short-sighted. Rest assured, these changes are usually temporary, with normal vision returning after pregnancy. A temporary update in you glasses is one thing, but you certainly don’t want to have laser eye surgery based on a spectacle prescription that isn’t stable.

So why does vision change during pregnancy?

It’s not entirely clear, but hormones can affect different part of the body and the eye is no exception. Oestrogen has a strong effect on collagen making your pelvic joints lax ready for childbirth. The cornea is made up almost entirely of collagen (and water). Changes in corneal strength and shape may well affect focusing, particularly during the third trimester.

Swollen ankles? How about swollen eyes?

Fluid retention in the feet and ankles during pregnancy is a common complaint amongst women. Fluid can also accumulate in the cornea, affecting its shape and thickness. Any change in shape can affect focusing of light, meaning your vision may be impaired.

What else might happen to the eyes during pregnancy?

You might also be affected by dry and irritable eyes. Surges in hormones during pregnancy can affect the surface of your eyes making them more prone to drying out. This can cause blurry vision, whether or not you wear your contact lenses of glasses. If you wear contacts, the dryness may mean your lenses feel less comfortable.

How can I treat these issues?

Many women get through pregnancy without any of these issues. If your eyes are dry and irritable, over-the-counter artificial tear drops should help. Ask your pharmacist to recommend suitable drops for pregnant women. If contact lenses are persistently uncomfortable, it may be sensible to switch to glasses for the duration of your pregnancy.

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