If you have a common vision problem, such as hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), or astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances), then you’re likely familiar with contact lenses. Many people prefer contacts to frames since it gives them a glasses-free look without blurry vision.
But as convenient as contact lenses are, they come with a variety of drawbacks. They require a lot more care than glasses. You need to clean and store them as soon as they’re removed, and if you don’t wash your hands before, it can risk infection. In addition, some people find their vision becomes blurry if the lenses move around or are unable to wear them for a long time without experiencing irritation, like dry eye.
Since it’s possible for your vision to change during pregnancy, you may be wondering if you can wear contacts as regularly and easily as when you’re not expecting. Here’s what you need to know about contact lenses in pregnancy.
In short, the answer to this question is yes. It’s absolutely safe to continue to wear contact lenses while pregnant, although you may experience some more discomfort than normal (which we discuss in detail below).
However, what you should not do while expecting is order contact lenses with a new prescription. This is because pregnancy can cause temporary vision changes. As per WebMD, some women experience increasingly blurry vision while pregnant, which can change their prescription. When expecting, the body must retain more fluids to support the growing baby. This can change the thickness and shape of the cornea, thereby distorting vision. This is most common in later trimesters.
In most cases, your vision will return to what it was pre-pregnancy within a couple of weeks or months after giving birth. This may take longer depending on when you stop breastfeeding, if you nursed at all. As such, it’s pointless to get a new glasses or contact lens prescription until your vision is stable.
BabyMed recommends expecting mothers continue to wear the contact lens prescription they were before pregnancy, even if they are not as effective when your vision fluctuates. You should only get a new prescription, if necessary, once your vision has stabilized post-birth and after breastfeeding has ceased.
There’s An Increased Risk Of Dry Eye
Dry eye is a condition in which not enough tears are being produced to keep the eyes moist. It causes an uncomfortable feeling. You may experience a stinging, burning, or scratching sensation in your eyes. You may also feel like you have something in your eye or experience sensitivity to light.
It’s common to experience dry eyes when wearing contacts, especially for a prolonged period, since the lens on the cornea partially blocks oxygen from entering the eye.
Pregnant people are more likely to experience dry eye due to hormonal fluctuations, regardless if they wear contacts or not. It most commonly develops at the end of the first trimester. So, if you’re pregnant and wearing contacts, you’re at an even greater risk of experiencing dry eye and having exacerbated symptoms.
Though dry eye can be managed by regularly changing your contacts and using eye drops for lubrication, some pregnant people find it easier to wear glasses for the time being, so they don’t have to deal with the discomfort.
Even though wearing contact lenses in pregnancy is considered safe, there are safety precautions to keep in mind. Your health is more vulnerable in pregnancy, so it’s important to be extra caution to prevent infection or other adverse effects. As such, we recommend keeping the following tips in mind.
Cleanliness to prevent infection
Maintaining proper hygiene when wearing contacts is always important, but even more so in pregnancy. If you don’t wash your hands before touching your eye and contact, or you don’t store the contacts immediately after use, it raises the risk of infection.
Infections can be even more detrimental in pregnancy since fetal health is so fragile. Plus, not all medications used to treat infections are safe for pregnant people. So, being extra cautious with cleanliness when putting in and removing contacts is critical.
Be cautious with eye drops
Eye drops are an effective way to treat symptoms of dry eye. But not all ingredients included in eye drops are safe to use in pregnancy. Speak to your doctor to see what brand they recommend erring on the side of caution.
Watch out for serious symptoms
While visual changes in pregnancy are normal, there are some specific signs that can indicate something more serious.
Symptoms like double vision, light sensitivity, and seeing halos or spots can be an indicator of preeclampsia (abnormally high blood pressure), which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Please seek medical attention if you experience any of these.
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