Today – How Pregnancy and Menopause Affects Your Eyes
Pregnancy and menopause affect women’s bodies in many different ways. But what is sometimes overlooked is how it can affect your eye health. Changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention and blood circulation can all affect your eyes.
Usually, changes in your eye health during pregnancy and menopause are only minor and temporary. But, it is useful to know what to look out for, and when certain symptoms are a cause for concern.
Experts at Optimax have made a short list of things you can expect during pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause, and what you should do about them.
One of the most common symptoms experienced during both pregnancy and menopause is dry eyes. It is thought that the hormones which change during these crucial times in women’s lives are related to tear production. Fluctuation in these hormones can lead to dry, irritated eyes. This can make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable, and some women choose to switch to glasses for a while until their hormones go back to normal. Wearing contact lenses for shorter periods or reducing your screen time, can help you.
You may want to use artificial tears to combat this, but, it is important to ensure that you seek advice from your doctor, to make sure they are safe to use during pregnancy.
Pregnant women or those experiencing menopause may find that they experience migraines. The cause for this isn’t clear, however, it is likely linked to fluctuations in hormones again. With migraines, symptoms like flashing lights, blind spots, auras or even temporary loss of vision can affect your eyesight. If you experience this, you may find it helpful to write down your symptoms and any other possible triggers, so that you can avoid this in the future.
A build-up of pressure in the eyes can lead to blurred vision, which is more common for pregnant women than those going through menopause. Once again, the hormones during pregnancy can cause fluid to build-up in your eyes, similarly to how your ankles and feet swell up. This can lead to changes in the curvature of your eye and the thickness of your cornea, affecting your vision and whether your glasses/contact lenses still correct your vision. This should go back to normal after your pregnancy.
Both pregnancy and menopause can at times cause women to have signs of eye disease
- Central Serous Chorioretinopathy – Sometimes, women with an otherwise healthy pregnancy develop this eye disease, which is caused by a build-up of fluid in the retina.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – This is a complication with diabetes that affects the blood vessels in the eye.
- Glaucoma – This is another condition that occurs as a result of the pressure of fluid build-up inside your eye. It is a condition which can change during pregnancy.
- Cataracts – A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside your eye, which interferes with the passage of light and results in blurred vision, which cannot be corrected by glasses. Because of the estrogen reduction during menopause, women can be disproportionately affected.
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – AMD has been linked to certain hormone production, so women who experience menopause early are at greater risk of developing AMD.
- Glaucoma – Again, this condition can sometimes be affected by menopause.
This variety of conditions can be brought on by a number of things. Also, if you have an existing eye condition such as Glaucoma, you may find that pregnancy or menopause can cause the condition to worsen or improve. If you experience anything that you are unsure about, it is always best to see your GP because you may need to change medication or dosage.
Change in Prescription
Because of all the changes your body goes through during pregnancy and menopause, some women find that their prescription from the optician changes. But, it isn’t always wise to invest in new glasses, because things usually return to normal after you’ve had your baby. This is why eye clinics such as Optimax do not perform vision corrective procedures on pregnant women and advise that you wait at least 3 months after breastfeeding before having a consultation. This will prevent you from over-correcting your eyes because you cannot obtain accurate prescription readings and measurements.
The same way that the fluctuation of hormones during pregnancy affects your complexion and even your hair colour, you may experience a change in the colour of your eyelids. The change in pigment should fade slowly after the birth of your baby and is unlikely to directly affect your vision.
There are many changes to your eyesight which occur as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause. The good news is that most of them will go right back to normal afterwards. But, it is important to remember to take advice where you can from your GP, midwife or optician.
I hope you have found this post on How Pregnancy and Menopause Affects Your Eyes to be useful