New Survey Finds Moms Don't Know About This Common Pregnancy Symptom

Most moms-to-be know about swollen ankles, achy backs and exhaustion when they’re expecting  —  but pregnancy can also cause changes in vision.

A new survey conducted by the American Optometric Association found that one in six moms-to-be or new moms experienced vision changes during pregnancy and that 2 in 5 moms weren’t aware that vision changes were possible.

Changes in vision are caused by hormonal imbalance, according to AOA President and optometrist Samuel D. Pierce, and symptoms can include dry eyes, migraine headaches, blurred vision and light sensitivity.

“If a patient is retaining water, for instance, fluid may build up behind the eye or in the eyeball itself, spurring changes in the shape of the cornea,” Pierce says. “This changes the way light passes through the eye, which can impair or distort women’s vision. And women might find that their corrective lenses aren’t as effective as they were prior to their pregnancy, though these are temporary eye conditions that will pass after delivery.”

Pierce says women should also inform their optometrist of any pre-existing conditions, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, so the doctor can closely monitor any changes in their eyesight.

“A good rule of thumb is no matter how minimal the variation to one’s eyesight, patients should let their eye doctor know,” Pierce says. “Pregnant women also should maintain their regularly scheduled visits for an in-person, comprehensive eye exam that can detect any potential issues that may have no obvious warning signs.”

Vision changes are also a symptom of one severe pregnancy condition that several celebrities have opened up about experiencing: preeclampsia. Beyoncé recently said that she had the condition, also known as toxemia, with her twins. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure, severe headaches and changes in vision, and can lead to serious complications, according to Mayo Clinic.

Kim Kardashian also suffered from it during her pregnancy with her daughter North, 5, as did Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore during her pregnancy with 5-month-old daughter Brooklyn.

Pierce says if a mother experiences anything they might consider abnormal, it’s best to see a doctor.

“A mother’s health and the health of their baby are important,” Pierce says. “Checking on all unusual symptoms can help have a healthy pregnancy from start to finish.”

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