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Pregnancy and blurred vision

Pregnant woman with blurry vision looking at her cell phone

What causes blurry vision during pregnancy?

Blurry vision is an uncomfortable but common part of pregnancy. These vision changes are usually caused by hormones your body makes while you're pregnant. The blurriness should go away on its own after you have your baby.

Some women get blurred vision with pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or diabetes. These complications can also raise your risk for other eye problems.

These are treatable conditions, but your doctor will want to monitor your health and start treatment (if needed) as soon as possible.


Most of the time, blurred vision is caused by normal hormone changes that won't harm you or your baby. This kind of blurriness usually goes away within a few weeks after delivery.

Many women first notice this kind of blurry vision in early pregnancy, during the first trimester. But it can happen later, too.

Pregnancy hormones make your eyes retain more water. This can temporarily change the shape of the clear "window" in the front of each eye (the cornea).

Even small cornea changes can make your vision look blurry.

Your hormones can also affect your tears and cause dry eyes. In one study, around half of pregnant women had dry eye symptoms.

If your blurry vision gets better when you blink, it could be caused by dry eyes.

Dryness can also make your eyes feel like they are:

  • Gritty or scratchy

  • Tired or fatigued

  • Sore

  • Burning

  • Watery

  • More sensitive to light

Shifts in hormone levels can also raise the pressure inside your eye. The pressure usually drops as you get further into your pregnancy.

Some eye pressure changes are a concern for people who already had high eye pressure or glaucoma before their pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you have one of these problems and which treatment (if any) you use.

Pregnancy hormones can cause or worsen migraines. These painful headaches can lead to:

About 1 in 3 people experience a visual aura before a migraine. The aura can cause unusual effects on your eyesight, such as:

  • Flashes of light

  • Zigzags or stars

  • Blind spots

  • Temporary vision loss

Some people notice vision changes and other symptoms hours or even days before a migraine headache starts. They might see their vision blurring, or they might yawn a lot or feel more tired than usual.

Retinal migraines (also called "ocular migraines") are rarer than auras, and they only affect one eye. They can cause sudden blurred vision, a blind spot and vision loss for up to an hour. Rarely, these vision changes may be permanent.

Serious health and eye problems can cause these symptoms, too. Talk to a doctor right away if you have sudden vision changes.


Preeclampsia is a complication that involves high blood pressure and problems with your liver or kidneys. It happens in 3%-7% of all pregnancies.

Preeclampsia usually happens sometime after the middle of your second trimester (20 weeks). Most affected women still have healthy babies, but many need to deliver early (before 37 weeks).

Many women won't feel sick, but others will have swelling around their eyes, face or hands. It can also make them gain 2 to 5 pounds in a week.

Blurry vision and other vision changes can be a symptom of severe preeclampsia. Seeing spots or light flashes and feeling sensitive to light can happen, too.

You might also feel:

  • A bad headache that won't go away

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Pain below your ribs or in your right shoulder

  • Lightheadedness

  • Like you aren't peeing as much as usual

  • Sick to your stomach, which may make you throw up

Call your provider right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Preeclampsia should always be monitored, even when it's mild. Otherwise, it can get worse and lead to serious eye or health problems for the mother and the baby.

Some of them are:

  • Eclampsia – Uncontrollable shaking fits (seizures) that can lead to other serious issues. Some people have blurry vision right before a seizure starts.

  • HELLP syndrome – A rare problem with your blood and liver that usually happens during the third trimester. Blurred vision is one possible symptom.

  • Stroke – A burst blood vessel in the brain that needs emergency treatment. It can cause sudden blurry vision in one or both eyes, along with other stroke warning signs.

Gestational diabetes

Diabetes is when someone has too much glucose (a type of sugar) in their blood. When it's caused by pregnancy, it's called gestational diabetes.

Blurry vision can be a warning sign of gestational diabetes. But most women won't have any symptoms.

As many as 1 in 10 pregnant women get gestational diabetes. It's treatable, but your provider needs to manage it with you. Otherwise, it can lead to other complications.

The condition can cause eye problems in some women. Talk to an eye doctor right away if you notice:

  • Double vision

  • Vision that looks dim or washed out

  • New eye floaters or flashes of light

  • Light sensitivity

  • Blind spots in your eyesight

Pre-existing health conditions

If you already have a health condition that affects your vision, your symptoms may get worse while you're pregnant.

Some of these conditions are:

  • Diabetes High blood sugar levels that can damage the retina inside your eye.

  • Thyroid eye disease (TED) Eye bulging, blurry vision and other eye-related symptoms that happen because your thyroid gland isn't working correctly.

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) When your immune system attacks the outer layer of your nerve fibers. Eye problems like optic neuritis can cause blurred vision in people with MS.

  • High blood pressure When blood flow exerts too much pressure inside your arteries. Women who already have high blood pressure are at higher risk for preeclampsia and other conditions that cause vision issues.

  • Uveitis Inflammation of the uvea (a layer inside your eye) that may cause sudden blurry vision. It can threaten your vision if it isn't treated.

Blurry vision after pregnancy

Some of the things that affect your eyesight during pregnancy can also cause blurry vision after delivery.


The blurry vision caused by pregnancy hormones won't always go away right after you give birth.

Most women have their normal vision back within the first few weeks after delivery. But in rare cases, it can take as long as nine months for the blurriness to go away.

Your doctor can help you decide if what you're experiencing is normal.

Postpartum preeclampsia

Preeclampsia can also happen in the days and weeks after you have your baby. This is called postpartum preeclampsia.

It can affect anyone, even if you didn't have preeclampsia during your pregnancy.

Postpartum preeclampsia needs to be treated. When it causes symptoms, they're usually the same as preeclampsia. Blurry vision is one possible sign.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.


About 1 in 3 babies are delivered with a C-section procedure. While rare complications can happen, your vision shouldn't be blurry after surgery.

Any blurred vision after a C-section could be caused by a different problem. Tell your doctor if you experience this or other unexpected side effects.

Vision prescription change

It sometimes takes several months for hormone-related blurred vision to get better. If you still feel like your eyes are blurry nine months after delivery, you might need new glasses or contact lenses.

If an eye doctor thinks you need a new vision prescription, they'll give you one after a comprehensive eye exam. You can use this prescription to get new glasses or contacts anywhere that sells them.

Treatments and remedies for blurred vision in pregnancy

If a medical condition causes or worsens blurry vision, your doctor will need to treat that specific problem. Their treatment should help you see clearly again.

When hormone changes make your vision blurry, you may be able to take steps to help your eyes feel more comfortable:

  • Take your contacts out – Your contact lenses might not fit very well if the shape of your eyes changes while you're pregnant (which is common). Try wearing your glasses if contacts are blurring your vision.

  • Take more screen breaks – Too much screen time or intense focus can overwork your eyes, which could cause blurry eyesight. Help your eyes recover by taking extra breaks and naps and by using the 20-20-20 rule.

  • Turn an extra light on – Reading or focusing in low light can worsen eye strain. Make sure the room is well lit.

  • Use artificial tears – If your eyes feel dry, store-bought eye drops called artificial tears can help them feel more comfortable. But check with your doctor beforehand to make sure the eye drops (or any other new medications) are safe for you and your baby.

When to call your doctor

For many women, blurry vision is a normal part of the hormone changes that happen during pregnancy. It should go away after delivery, but it sometimes takes several months.

Common pregnancy complications can make your vision fuzzy, too. Your doctor needs to diagnose, treat and manage these problems so you and your baby can stay healthy.

Get medical help right away if you have sudden blurry vision or any of these urgent pregnancy complication warning signs. They can appear during pregnancy and for about a year after delivery.

If it's been several months since delivery and blurry vision is your only symptom, you might need a vision prescription update. Schedule an exam with an eye doctor near you to check on the health of your eyes and vision.

READ MORE: Women's Eye Health & Safety Month

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Gestational diabetes. Cleveland Clinic. November 2022.

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Diabetic retinopathy: Causes, symptoms, treatment. EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. November 2023.

What is thyroid eye disease (TED) or Graves' eye disease? EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. June 2023.

Multiple sclerosis. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. November 2023.

High blood pressure (hypertension). Cleveland Clinic. May 2023.

Uveitis. National Eye Institute. November 2023.

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Blurred vision. Cleveland Clinic. October 2022.

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