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What causes blurry vision during pregnancy?

When hormones fluctuate during pregnancy, things like eye pressure, tear production and field of vision can be altered. Each of these changes can trigger blurry vision.

Blurred vision is normal at any stage of your pregnancy, though it may seem to get worse in the second or third trimester for some women. Regardless of when it begins, the blurriness typically fades after delivery.

What causes blurry vision during pregnancy?

Hormones fluctuate during pregnancy, causing various changes in the body, from morning sickness to swollen ankles. Of the many transitions the body faces during this time period, vision changes are some of the most common — especially blurred vision.

Change in field of vision

Sometimes hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the field of vision — particularly one’s peripheral vision. Vision may feel unbalanced and blurry in your peripherals, but this usually returns to normal after pregnancy.

General blurriness and the feeling of weaker vision may also occur as the body adjusts to the changes that come with pregnancy. The severity varies from person to person, but this is common and not usually any reason for concern.

Because these vision changes are temporary, many eye doctors recommend waiting a few months after delivery — when vision has returned to normal — before updating an eyeglasses or contact lens prescription.

SEE RELATED: Dizziness and blurred vision

Change in eye pressure

Hormonal changes during pregnancy that cause water retention and swollen ankles can also cause water retention in the eyes, which can increase eye pressure. If this happens, the curvature and thickness of the cornea may also change.

The curvature of the cornea determines exactly how and where light hits the retina, so a temporary change here can be a direct cause of blurry vision. If the shape and thickness of the cornea change enough, eyes may also begin to feel more sensitive, and contact lenses may not fit as securely — both of which can then cause blurry vision. 

If you have any trouble wearing contact lenses during pregnancy, consider switching to eyeglasses to avoid discomfort.

Dry eyes

Tear production may decrease during pregnancy, which can cause dry eyes, irritation and blurry vision. If your eyes feel dry, over-the-counter eye drops can help relieve this irritation and prevent further discomfort.

How to treat blurry vision during pregnancy

Though having blurry vision while pregnant can be irritating, there are various ways you can manage it yourself. Blurry vision may be treated during pregnancy with the following home remedies:

  • Use lubricated eye drops (natural tears) to alleviate dryness.

  • Wear eyeglasses instead of contacts.

  • Reduce digital eye strain by taking a break from digital screens when possible — or try a pair of blue light glasses.

  • Wear ultraviolet (UV) protective sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful rays and help with outdoor light sensitivity that may increase blurriness.

Some cases of blurry vision during pregnancy may be severe enough to consider a new vision prescription. However, it is best to wait to update your eyeglasses or contact lenses until after delivery, as vision typically stabilizes a few weeks to a few months after having a baby.

SEE RELATED: Other vision changes during pregnancy: Eye floaters, spots & more

When to contact a doctor about blurry vision during pregnancy

Blurry vision during pregnancy is relatively normal, though it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience additional symptoms alongside blurry vision, such as the following, contact your doctor for further evaluation:

  • Severe headache 

  • Severe swelling of the face or hands

  • Unexplained weight gain

  • Increased thirst

These symptoms may be a sign of serious prenatal conditions like preeclampsia (formerly known as toxemia) or gestational diabetes. No matter which stage of pregnancy these symptoms may occur, it is important to report them to your doctor as soon as they do.

Most mild vision changes during pregnancy are temporary and return to normal after delivery. However, if you are still noticing major changes in your vision over six months postpartum, contact an eye doctor for an eye exam.

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