Timing Lasik And Pregnancy Appropriately

Barrett Eubanks, M.D. | October 05, 2022

Timing Lasik And Pregnancy Appropriately

What do you do if you want to get out of glasses and contact lenses but also want to start a family? Are those two goals compatible? Yes! But with the right timing.

This is because during pregnancy (and while nursing afterwards), the prescription in the eye can change. Important because lasik treats that prescription.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Vision

Lots of changes occur during pregnancy. While not the most exciting part of pregnancy, the eyes can go through changes as well. It doesn't happen for everyone. It is also typically very short term.

So what happens?

One thing that happens is the eyes can become more dry during pregnancy. Tear production in the eyes is actually regulated by hormones in the body. This is the reason why after menopause the eyes become more dry as well - a lack of hormone production causes the eyes to be more dry.

During pregnancy, however, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are elevated and not in the usual non-pregnant range. Because these hormones aren’t in the usual balance, this also affects tear production and can cause the eyes to dry out more. Dry eyes can cause burning or aching but can also affect vision and cause vision to be blurry as well.

However, during pregnancy, not all blurry vision is being caused by dry eyes. In fact, the actual prescription of the eye can change! Similar to how feet can swell during pregnancy, the same can happen to the cornea as well. As the cornea swells, it takes on a different shape and bends light in a different direction than before. And this can cause you to have a different prescription and blurry vision!

Fortunately, in almost all cases, these changes are temporary. Following the completion of nursing, the eyes return back to their normal prescription.

Once finished with nursing, the pregnancy related hormones return back to their usual levels. The dry eye goes back to normal. The cornea swelling decreases allowing the cornea to un-swell and the prescription to return to where it was before pregnancy. Thus, while having your vision shift during pregnancy may be alarming, it really isn’t much to worry about.

Problem With Lasik

This potential shift in prescription becomes problematic when we talk about doing vision correction.

The results after laser eye surgery directly depend on the measurements and the prescription of the eyes. In order to get the best results, these measurements must be true and valid. If these measurements shifted because of pregnancy and were treated with lasik, then when the prescription shifts back to normal the treated prescription will be wrong. This can lead to a sub-optimal treatment and possibly require an enhancement to correct.

In addition, caution should always be exerted when taking prescription medications (including eye drops) during pregnancy or while nursing. The complete safety of many medications is unknown during pregnancy.

So when is it safe? The optimal time is either before the pregnancy or if your vision changed, at least a few months after nursing has been completed. This gives the eye time to return back to normal; giving the sharpest clearest results.

Also check out Safely, Can You Get Lasik While Pregnant? on EyeMountain.com

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