Pregnancy and contact lenses

It’s perfectly normal for your eyes to change during pregnancy, and for this to change your tolerance for contact lenses in the short term. These handy tips will help you enjoy comfortable vision and manage your contact lenses during pregnancy. Need some friendly advice? Give our award-winning customer service team a call; they’re available from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 20:00 and Saturday from 9:00 to 17:30 on 01 513 4141, or email help@visiondirect.ie.

Why your eyes can change during pregnancy

Experiencing a change in your vision that impacts on your tolerance for contact lenses during pregnancy is not at all uncommon. In fact some practitioners believe it can affect up to 90% of contact lens wearers albeit to a tiny extent in the vast majority of cases. This experience is due to changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention, and blood circulation throughout your pregnancy.

Two main causes

  • Water retention, for instance, may cause the thickness and curvature of the cornea of your eye to increase slightly. It's a small change, but it could affect how well your glasses or contact lenses correct your vision. Also, the cornea can swell causing oedema. Corneal oedema may cause the cornea to become irritated more easily.

  • Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, your eyes may feel dry. The quality or quantity of your tears may change substantially while you are pregnant. Dry eyes can sometimes cause you to feel like there is a piece of sand is in your eye. Your eyes may burn, itch or even suddenly become excessively watery. It is absolutely nothing to worry about.

    Pregnant contact lens wearers sometimes start to feel a certain discomfort as your eyes change shape. Often pregnant women visit their optician or doctor with complaints of dry eyes and ill-fitting contact lenses. This is the correct course of action.

How can you make wearing contact lenses during pregnancy as comfortable as possible?

Using eye drops several times per day can help to alleviate discomfort due to dry eyes. If continue to wear contact lenses during this period, make sure that the drops you use are compatible with the contact lenses you wear. There are a number of compatible products on the market and your optician or doctor will be able to recommend the most suitable one.

It is also possible that you might need a slight adjustment to the power or fitting of your contact lenses during your pregnancy. Again, your contact lens practitioner or optician is best placed to guide you through this process. But remember, the prescription is quite likely to need to be adjusted back after you’ve delivered your baby so be aware that you should schedule another visit after your baby is born. Though the new contact lenses can normally be used for another couple of months after giving birth – before the cornea goes back to normal.

  • If you experience vision changes during pregnancy, they'll probably be minor. Most women who experience a change find that they're a bit more short-sighted than they were before pregnancy.
  • If you wear glasses, it's unlikely that you'll need to change your prescription, but it is possible. If you think your vision has changed significantly, have it checked.

Pregnancy isn't a great time to invest in a new pair of glasses, though. In most cases, these changes are temporary and will reverse themselves within several months of delivery.