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Dry Eye and Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

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When you’re expecting a little bundle of joy, you may be prepared for some of the bigger changes that your body will go through.  But what you may not be expecting is just how many changes you’ll experience with your eye health – especially the prevalence of dry eye in pregnant women.

Dry eye is a common syndrome that creates a dry and irritated feeling within the eyes.  With dry eye, you may constantly feel like you’re not producing enough lubrication to help keep your eyes wet and happy.  While dry eye is common in populations of all ages and backgrounds, it’s surprisingly common among expecting mothers, due in part to massive hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Other symptoms of dry eye during pregnancy include the following:

  • Increased eye irritation
  • Increased mucus in or around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Increased eye fatigue
  • The feeling that there’s something in your eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Difficulty wearing contacts
  • Excessive tearing

Fortunately, most cases of dry eye in pregnant women are naturally resolved after giving birth or after weaning a child from the breast-feeding process, when the hormonal levels return to normal.

So what should you do if you encounter dry eye during pregnancy?

  • Get lubricating eye drops from your ophthalmologist. This is often one of the best ways to temporarily treat dry eye, as it can help provide much-need lubrication to the eye. At NewView Eye Center in Reston, Virginia, founder Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths can prescribe lubricating eye drops to help ease the symptoms of pregnancy-related dry eye.
  • Eat more foods that are high in omega-3s, including flax seeds and walnuts. Salmon also has high levels of omega-3s, but it’s best to avoid fish during pregnancy, as you’ll want to avoid exposing the baby to any trace amounts of mercury.

It’s important to note that should your dry eye cause blurry vision, you should contact Dr. Griffiths or your doctor right away.  This can often be a sign of more serious problems, such as pregnancy-related diabetes or high blood pressure.

To treat pregnancy-related dry eye, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA – also serving the greater Washington, DC area. To learn more about keeping your eyes healthy during pregnancy check out this article, or simply fill out the form in the top left corner or call 703-834-9777.