During pregnancy, many parts of your body change, including your eyes. These changes can make it hard for you to wear your pre-pregnancy contact lenses. Here are four things pregnant women need to know about contact lenses.
How do your eyes change during pregnancy?
During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the shape of your corneas change. Your corneas are the transparent tissues that shield your pupils and irises. Specifically, the corneas become increasingly curved.
Your corneas may also become thickened and swollen during pregnancy. This is because your pregnancy hormones make your body hold onto fluids; it's the same reason that your feet and ankles get swollen. While swollen feet are just a nuisance, swollen corneas can have a greater affect on your life. When these tissues become swollen, the refractive power (ability to focus light) of the corneas changes, which will alter your vision and lead to blurring.
How does this affect your contact lenses?
Contact lenses are fitted to your eyes, and when the shape of your corneas changes, your pre-pregnancy contact lenses won't fit anymore. The lenses will be uncomfortable, and you won't be able to wear them.
If the swelling of your corneas changes your vision, your contact lenses may no longer make your vision as clear as you would like. This is because your prescription has changed.
How can your optometrist help?
Your optometrist will perform an eye exam to confirm that your vision changes and contact lens intolerance are caused by your pregnancy and not by something more serious. They will also determine your new vision correction prescription. Next, you'll be refitted for new contact lenses. Fitting contact lenses involves taking a measurement of the curvature of the cornea. With this information, your new lenses will be custom-made for the perfect fit.
Will your eyes return to normal?
Fortunately, the eye changes associated with pregnancy aren't permanent. The curvature of your corneas will return to normal either after you have your baby or after you stop breastfeeding; in either case, it's just temporary. The swelling of your cornea—and the associated vision changes—will go away after you deliver your baby. This is because your body doesn't need to retain fluids after your baby is born.
If you're pregnant and are having trouble continuing to wear your pre-pregnancy contact lenses, you're not alone. Make an appointment with your optometrist (like Campbell River Optometry Centre contacts) to get fitted for new contact lenses.