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Can my vision change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy your body goes through many changes, some obvious, some not so much. Changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation can all affect your eyes and your eyesight.

Water retention, for instance, may slightly increase the thickness and curvature of your cornea. It’s a small change, but it could affect whether your glasses or contacts still correct your vision. It’s also the reason laser eye surgery isn’t recommended during pregnancy, and why it’s not a good time to be fitted for new contact lenses or invest in a new pair of glasses.

Your eyes may be drier and more irritated during pregnancy (and for as long as you’re breastfeeding). This, along with subtle changes in the shape and thickness of the cornea, can make it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses.

You may also notice flashing lights or blind spots. One possible cause is a condition called migraine headache with visual aura, which some women experience for the first time during pregnancy. In this condition, a painful headache (usually on one side of the head) is preceded by an aura. This can include visual disturbances, such as bright flashes of light, zigzag lines, blind spots, or even temporary loss of vision. It’s possible to have aura symptoms without the headache.

Pregnancy can also improve or worsen existing eye conditions. For example, if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, this condition often worsens during pregnancy. See your eye doctor before you get pregnant and again in early pregnancy to get screened for damage to the blood vessels in your retina (diabetic retinopathy). You’ll also need to have more frequent eye exams while you’re pregnant and in the postpartum period.

Glaucoma, on the other hand, sometimes improves during pregnancy, so your eye doctor may be able to lower the dose of your medication – and reduce your baby’s exposure to it.

There are always different products and ways we can help to alleviate dry and irritated eyes during and after your pregnancy, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. If your vision changes unexpectedly, or you notice any unusual flashes, or unexpected visual distortions, call your local optometrist. If your vision does change during pregnancy, it will probably be minor and temporary. Most symptoms will reverse themselves within several months of delivery.

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sources:

AAN. Undated. Migraine. American Academy of Neurology. http://patients.aan.com/disorders/?event=view&disorder_id=987[Accessed August 2017]

AAO. 2012. Ocular changes during pregnancy. American Academy of Ophthalmology.https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/ocular-changes-during-pregnancy [Accessed August 2017]

AAO. 2016a. Diabetic retinopathy PPP – updated 2016. American Academy of Ophthalmology.https://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/diabetic-retinopathy-ppp-updated-2016 [Accessed August 2017]

AAO. 2016b. What is central serous chorioretinopathy? American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-central-serous-retinopathy [Accessed August 2017]

Mackensen F et al. 2014. Ocular changes during pregnancy. Deutsches Arzteblatt International 111(33-34):567-576.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165189/ [Accessed August 2017]

At home eye testing?

At home eye testing…sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. Not only is at home eye testing inaccurate, you are also missing out on the benefits of a full examination where your eyes are thoroughly checked for not just glasses, but eye disease too. Conditions like Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataract can begin to present with no symptoms what-so-ever. Specific tests by a qualified optometrist can identify these conditions long before you feel the physical side effects associated with them.

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Another thing to consider is that in Australia, once you reach 75 years of age, you will need to have an annual eye test to keep your drivers licence. This includes having a medical form filled out and signed by a qualified optometrist, something you can’t do at home yourself.

Considering most optometrist in Australia Bulkbill examinations direct to Medicare, there is no reason for you to put off having an eye test.

At The Eye Optical Studio Tweed Heads, we pride ourselves in being a practice that does not prescribe glasses that are not necessary. In fact, the longer you can go without a prescription, the better!

Call today for an appointment!

Tweed Heads 0755 366 325

DRY, IRRITATED EYES?

One of our most common complaints in the practice is dry eye. It is a condition that affects both men and women, especially later in life. Dry eye syndrome is simply characterized by insufficient tears. As we age, tear production slows, causing tired, dry, stinging, itchy, red eyes, with an occasional gritty feeling and sometimes blurred vision. There are other factors that can create dry eyes, such as environment and climate, irritants like smoke and chemicals, post lasik and cataract surgery, prolonged periods of time in front of a computer, medications and some medical conditions.

An eye examination with a tear film work up can diagnose dry eye, and treatment is often a period of time using lubricants and making an effort to hydrate your body with around 2 litres of water a day. This treatment may even need to be a long term plan to help keep your eyes lubricated. In extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required.

Another condition that often coincides with dry eye is Blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelids. In this case, bacteria that normally lives harmlessly on the skin, can cause infection of the eyelid margins. The result is a crusting of the lashes and lids and an itchy sensation. If left untreated Blepharitis can stimulate inflammation and cause eyelids to become red, swollen and irritated. Soapy cleaners gentle enough to avoid eye irritation can be used to clean the eye lashes and lid margins, as well as eye drops and ointments.

If you have been experiences any of the above symptoms, give us a call today (07 5536 6325) and we can get your eyes back on track to being healthy and comfortable once more.

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Reference – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/dry-eye

image courtesy of pixabay

Eye Myths Uncovered

It’s important to separate fact from fiction, particularly when we are talking about your eyesight. Understanding how to care for your eyes can sometimes be a tricky minefield of information, so here are a few eye myths busted and facts substantiated to help you find your way.

Failure to use the correct glasses will hurt your eyesFACTFUNNY GLASSES-0

Who hasn’t tried someone else’s glasses and felt dizzy or a noticeable strain on their eyes? While wearing the incorrect script can feel weird, it won’t actually cause any long lasting damage. It will however leave you with a headache and if you are wearing the incorrect script to drive you should consider the legal implications if you are in a car accident.

 

Use a raw steak on a black eyeMYTH

germs on steak

Ummmm, NO! Just no. Although black eyes aren’t usually serious, you should still see your eye doctor to rule out possible internal eye damage. As for placing raw meat over the injury, you are potentially exposing your eye to a breeding ground for infection. The best course of action for a black eye is a cold compress to reduce swelling. Save the steak for the barbecue.

Carrots improve your visionFACT

While parentscarrot-juice-1623157_1920 will tell their kids anything in the hope to get them eating vegetables, the saying that carrots will improve your vision is true. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment which is an essential precursor for vitamin A. Deficiencies in vitamin A are the leading causes of blindness in the developing world. A dinner plate full of vegetables is essential for not only good eye health, but good overall health.

 

Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes – MYTH

watching-2082788_1280While sitting too close to the TV can cause eye strain, it won’t actually do any permanent damage. Children can focus at close distance without eyestrain better than adults. Therefore children often develop the habit of holding reading materials close to their eyes or sitting right in front of the television. Ordinarily most children grow out of this habit, but if you have concerns, get your child’s eyes tested.

 

 

Reading in the dark will weaken your eyesMYTH

It is more than possible that reading in the dark will cause eyestrain and possibly a headache, but it won’t cause any long lasting problems.

 

Using glasses will weaken my eyes MYTHeye-7335_1920

Wearing glasses will not weaken or damage your eyes. Corrective lenses will take away the eye strain and blur, leaving you with clear vision. Over time your prescription will change and this is due to the natural aging process or eye disease. The lens inside the eye changes as we grow older and usually by about 40 -45 years of age you will require a pair of glasses to improve your near vision.

 

If you can see clearly you don’t need an eye testMYTH

Even though your vision might feel okay, there are many eye diseases that begin with no visual symptoms. By the time these symptoms are noticeable, often the vision loss is irreversible. It is recommended that anyone with eye disease, or a family history of eye disease, have their eyes tested annually, while two yearly eye tests are suggested for everyone else.

And remember, if in doubt, give us a call and we can help you sift through fact and fiction. Dr. Google isn’t always the best go-to tool for diagnosing eye conditions and providing treatments. 

** Images courtesy of Pixabay