Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE EYE PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What are eye conditions during pregnancy?

Pregnancy alters body systems, including the eyes, leading to various changes. Eye conditions that can occur during, or just after, pregnancy as a result of such changes include unilateral ptosis (drooping of one eyelid), due to fluid and hormonal changes. Dry eyes can develop as a result of changes in the physiology of tear film, possibly due to immune system reactions involving the lacrimal duct, which carries tears and connects the eye to the nasal cavity. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy can aggravate this condition by dehydrating you, and can also lead to swelling of the cornea. Changes in physiology of pregnancy can also alter the corneal curvature, and the lens inside the eye can become more curved, causing or worsening myopia (nearsightedness). Pregnant women also may experience defects in the visual field, meaning that you don’t see everything all the way around the frame in front of you in one or both eyes. This is due to growth of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which pushes on a structure called the optic chiasm, where nerve fibers from the two optic nerves meet up and in some cases cross to the opposite side of the brain. One condition that may actually improve during pregnancy is glaucoma, because the physiological changes of pregnancy lead to a reduction in intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eye). Pregnancy can also aggravate diseases of the eyes, such as retinal disease from diabetes, certain tumors, and bulging of the eyes form hyperthyroidism. 


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