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Eyesight and Pregnancy

Eyesight and Pregnancy Do you expect or plan a baby? Ophthalmologist’s consultation is a must for all mothers–to-be. Even women with normal eyesight should visit an ophthalmologist at least twice: in the beginning of pregnancy and before giving a birth.

If there are or will be detected any problems with eyesight a special attention should be given for the labour preparation. Do not neglect visiting an obstetrician-gynecologist, but an ophthalmologist as well. It may happen that something goes wrong with eyes during pregnancy. The eyesight condition can be affected by toxicosis and other pregnancy complications. As pregnancy is associated with hormone alteration and its effects are different with different people. Eye are one of the organs that can be affected by it.

  • Women wearing contact lenses sometimes complain that they feel discomfort during pregnancy. Try to wear spectacles and come back to lenses after giving birth.
  • It may seem that with the pregnancy start the eyesight deteriorated. Pregnant women are too suspectful sometimes (and no wonder), therefore their conviction in the possible eyesight decline is often false. However sometimes such fears are justified.
  • Ophthalmologists, during diagnostics, examine refraction degree and, in addition the retina condition. To check if there are any degenerative changes or ruptures. The target is to keep the retina in a good condition, to keep an eye on any hemorrhages or perforations. Doctors also always examine the eye fundus and measure the intraocular pressure.
  • Vascular disorders very often cause seeing spots. This is not always dangerous but is obviously worth telling the doctor. Sometimes it may be an indicator to the retinal abnormality. Therefore it is much safer to be examined to be sure nothing is wrong with you.

Pregnancy and Retina

The retina condition is the most vulnerable part of the vision system during pregnancy. The retina is a thin layer of neural tissue located at the inside of the back part of the eye ball, it absorbs light. It is a complex structure and the thin layer of light-sensitive cells – photoreceptors is the main aspect of it. The eye retina is responsible for image perception, which is projected on the retina through the cornea and the crystalline lens, and it’s conversion into neural pulses transmitted into the brain. The major retinal problems are: retinal dystrophy, retinal perforation, retinal detachment.

In order to prevent possible eye complications during pregnancy and giving birth, it is necessary to evaluate in advance the visual system condition of the mother-to-be and check the retina un particular. Ophthalmologists strongly advise to have an eyesight examination at weeks 10 to 14 of pregnancy irrespective of your normal eyesight and complaints whatsoever.

Besides the general visual system examination the eye fundus through the dilated pupil should be checked by all means. If no faults are found as the result of diagnostics, the next examination should be scheduled closer to the pregnancy end, i.e. week 32-36. If you have myopia however the according to ophthalmologists you should check your eyes every month. The whole body of a woman is changing through the pregnancy, eyesight inclusive. Therefore the visual system requires special attention from the mother-to-be.

What labour will be like?

Every woman having eye problems has got a question if she can give birth herself or go for a Caesarian. There is no simple answer to it. It depends largely on a number of aspects. Such as: the eye fundus and the retina condition, general condition, age, etc. A Caesarian is a surgery performed to extract the baby through an incision in the front abdominal wall and the womb. The risk for life and health for a woman undergoing a Caesarian is 12 times higher compared to natural birth. Therefore this surgery is chosen only when strictly indicated.

A Caesarian is the choice in the cases when natural birth is not possible or dangerous for the mother and the baby. Unfortunately a rather often reasons for this surgery are retinal dystrophy cases. The risk of retinal detachments in women having myopia and eye fundus abnormalities increases greatly during natural birth due to great blood pressure fluctuations.

ВThe modern medicine can prevent dystrophic changes in retina and manage the retina detachment risks by prophylactic laser coagulation. This procedure sort of “welds” the retina in weak spots and round the perforations.  Cicatrization occurs in the retina coagulation spots. This provides secure bond of the retina to the choroid. The coagulation technique creates a several coagulation lines over the peripheral retina.

When peripheral retina laser coagulation can be performed?

  • Any time before pregnancy
  • During pregnancy up to week 35

The retina condition does not always depend on myopia degree. Often high degree myopia does not affect the retina and it stays stably satisfactory, without pre-ruptures and progressing dystrophic changes. And the other way round, low myopia of 1 to 3 D may create dystrophic locus on the fundus.

If you plan pregnancy or are pregnant already you should by all means come for a ophthalmic check with an emphasis on the eye fundus examination. Please note that timely simple retina strengthening procedure can spare the necessity for a Caesarian.

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