There have been many books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts made all about what to expect when you’re expecting, and yet very few of those talk about what could happen to your eyesight when you’re pregnant. And believe it or not, pregnancy can affect your eyesight—in fact, it affects the vision of 15% of those expecting (1). Wild, right!?
So, how does this even happen? Basically, during pregnancy, changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation can all affect your eyesight, and while the body is adjusting to the baby growing inside of it, it ends up changing in certain ways to cope with all of the extra fluids (2).
It also just so happens that fluid/water retention is the holy grail to all things vision related, and there are 50%—fifty percent!!—more fluids inside of a pregnant persons’ body than a non-pregnant person’s body (4). One thing that all of that water retention may do is slightly modify the thickness and curvature of your cornea. And even though it’s a small shape change, it can cause a refraction error, meaning that light isn’t passing through the lens of your eye correctly.
This refraction error could go two ways: It can either be the reason it’s difficult to read labels at the grocery store and you have dry/sensitive eyes, or it could also be the reason why you can toss aside those thick glasses with the strong prescription (5). Because pregnant people aren’t all the same before their pregnancy (duh), their bodies cope in different ways.
These changes in your eyesight can be sudden or gradual and can happen at any point during the pregnancy, usually remaining for around 6 months after you give birth. Nine times out of ten, they don’t require you to get a new prescription right away. But keep in mind that this isn’t the case for everyone— no two pairs of eyes are alike!
It’s also important to be especially vigilant with your vision if you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or glaucoma. If you start to experience things like blind spots or high blood pressure, contact your doctor or midwife. These symptoms can be related to a more serious pregnancy condition known as preeclampsia.
And if you’re still in denial that this is an actual thing that happens (fair!), take it from our allbodies community, who left comments on our Instagram post about this phenomenon, saying like…
“Absolutely true! And my cornea never recovered. I’ve only been able to wear glasses since giving birth.”
“This happened to me! i got super light sensitive and it was like i couldn’t get my vision to focus. totally went away after i gave birth!”
“Pregnancy made my vision, hearing, and sense of smell better.”
“Yes it does!!!!! My vision was terrible during pregnancy. So bad I had to limit driving!“
“Yes! Except my vision slightly improved! And once I switched over to the new prescription I stopped getting what I assumed were hormonal headaches, when it was actually eye strain. I had never heard of that before and thought it was the craziest thing!”
So take care of your eyes when you’re pregnancy, and if your vision changes, know that it’s not all in your head—this is really a thing!!
Written By: Alex Shea, Momma gaia lover, Sex-Ed advocate, and Author of I Don’t Know Yet