Can I Have LASIK If I'm Pregnant?
Hormonal changes women experience during and after pregnancy can have effects on the eyes that can make LASIK outcomes less predictable. These changes also can affect healing of the eye after LASIK surgery.
Also, during and after LASIK surgery, several prescription and non-prescription medications typically are used by LASIK patients, and some of these might pose risks to a developing baby.
For example, on the day of surgery patients often are given a mild oral sedative (such as Valium) to relieve anxiety. And for several days after surgery, patients are instructed to use antibiotic and steroidal eye drops multiple times daily to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
The effects of these medications on pregnant women are not fully known, and they might have the potential to cause harm to a developing baby when they enter the mother's bloodstream.
For these reasons, most refractive surgeons advise their female patients to avoid having LASIK surgery during pregnancy and to wait a few months after they are done nursing their infant to have a vision correction procedure performed.
It's also worth noting that many women experience dry eyes during pregnancy, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable and even dangerous. If you are pregnant or are attempting to become pregnant, make sure you have an updated eyeglass prescription and glasses you can wear if you begin to experience dryness-related contact lens discomfort.
All that said, occasionally LASIK may be considered during pregnancy. Generally, these conditions must be met:
- The mother-to-be's eyeglass prescription has not changed in the past year.
- All relevant findings of a comprehensive eye exam and the preoperative refractive surgery measurements are normal.
- The patient is willing to undergo LASIK without a preoperative sedative.
- The patient understands that some of the best antibiotic drops are not recommended during pregnancy.
- The patient has a thorough consultation with her refractive surgeon and has sound reasoning for proceeding.
Also, if LASIK is going to be considered during pregnancy, it's recommended that the patient's obstetrician is consulted and approves.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated March 2018