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How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​Eye Associates of Richboro, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Eye Associates of Richboro in Richboro today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in Richboro, Pennsylvania

Why are regular eye exams important?

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Eye Associates of Richboro Dilated Eye Exam near you in Richboro, Pennsylvania

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.

What Are Dilated Eye Exams?

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina.

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula.

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases:

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial.

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later.

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal.

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches.

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Eye Associates of Richboro in Richboro today!

Eye Associates of Richboro, your Richboro eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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At what age should one have a dilated eye exam?

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam?

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding.

See Under the Sea & in the Swimming Pool Too

Wear goggles for clear & healthy underwater vision

You don’t swim naked at a public beach or swimming pool, and you shouldn’t swim with naked eyes either! At the beach, it’s hard to know if ocean water is really clean and not polluted, and the sand and salt content can make your eyes sting. If you prefer swimming in a pool, remember that while pool water can be clean, that’s only because it’s packed with chlorine, which can seriously irritate your eyes, stripping away your lubricating film and causing redness, pain, and blurry vision.

Goggles are the ideal solution for protecting your delicate eyes against the harshness of water. Also, due to advanced materials and modern engineering of the lenses in swim goggles, they provide crisper underwater vision than ever before! Your knowledgeable Richboro eye doctor explains about the benefits and features of goggles:

Prescription goggles

If you normally need eyeglasses or contacts to see above water, our Richboro optometrist strongly recommends buying a pair of prescription goggles for underwater vision. For you to see, light rays reflect off an object, enter your eyes, and are focused on your retina clearly. However, light rays don’t function the same way when they are in water. That’s why the floor of a swimming pool appears higher up than it really is. In general, goggles correct this problem by creating an air-filled gap around your eyes. But this doesn’t give sharp sight to swimmers who need vision correction. If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you’ll need prescription goggles to see.

Wearing contact lenses and standard goggles

A lot of people are in the habit of wearing standard goggles over their contact lenses, instead of purchasing a pair of prescription goggles. What’s the problem with this? Actually, water is the problem.

Water in all bodies – lakes, pools, oceans, and hot tubs – is a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms. While your body and your eyes have a built-in defense system to protect against these menacing microbes, contact lenses interfere with your eye’s protection. Consequently, swimming with contact lenses increases your risk of getting an eye infection.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is an extremely hazardous eye infection caused by amoeba being trapped between your contact lens and your cornea. Sometimes, amoeba start to live in your eye, leading to corneal ulcers and permanent vision loss. This type of infection only happens to people who wear contact lenses, which underscores our Richboro eye doctor’s warning against swimming with contacts!

Now, we also realize that many people will insist on wearing contact lenses at the beach or pool – despite all of our warnings. If you’re one of those people, here are some tips to help you minimize the danger to your eye health:

  • Wear daily disposable contacts for swimming, since you throw them out after a single use. Remove them immediately after you come out of the water, rinse your eyes with artificial tears and replace your lenses with a new, clean pair.
  • Even if you’re didn’t fully dip into the water, if any drops fall into your eyes, remove your contacts immediately and throw them out, or disinfect them if you aren’t wearing disposables.
  • Never open your eyes underwater
  • Never go swimming and then doze off on the shore or poolside with your lenses still in your eyes

Top features for goggles – recommended by our Richboro optometrist

  • Prescription lenses, if you generally need eyewear with vision correction
  • Shatterproof lenses
  • Anti-fog treatment
  • Leak-free lenses that seal comfortably around your eyes
  • Built-in UV protection
  • Surfers should wear polarized lenses to protect against reflected glare, which can be very intense on the water
  • Competitive swimmers and divers should choose frames with a low profile
  • Recreational lap swimmers do best with larger lenses (they give wider peripheral vision), and more padded frames

More questions about swimming and vision? Ask our Richboro eye doctor!

Before you dive into the blue, sparkling waters at the beach or swimming pool, consult with an expert optometrist near you. We’ll help you find the safest way to have sharp underwater vision and a fabulous look! If you do experience irritated eyes, strange discharge, pain, sensitivity or redness after wearing your contact lenses while swimming, contact us immediately for an eye exam at Eye Associates of Richboro.

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

What can I do about Dry Eyes in Winter ?

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Local Contact lens supplier near you in Richboro, Pennsylvania

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Quotation

“An estimated 5 million people over 50 years of age in the U.S. suffer from dry eye, according to the National Eye Institute (NEI).”, American Optometric Association

Eye Associates of Richboro Eye Clinic and Dry Eye Treatment in Richboro, Pennsylvania

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Richboro eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

  • Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  • Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  • Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  • Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  • Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  • Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  • Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  • For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Local Dry Eye Treatment in Richboro, Pennsylvania

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Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment. Dry eyes and uncomfortable symptoms are not a reason to throw out your contact lenses! Your first step should be a visit to our optometrist for an eye exam to rule out any other serious, underlying eye problems.

Once the cause of your discomfort is determined, we’ll work with you patiently to find the best solution. If you’re bothered by dry eyes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our optometrist. We’ll evaluate the cause of your condition and recommend the best dry eye treatment to bring you relief! Call Eye Associates of Richboro on 215-355-5818 to schedule an eye exam with our Richboro optometrist. Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Are You Missing Your Child’s Hidden Vision Problem?

What To Do if a Mosquito Bites Your Eyelid

Are Floaters and Flashes Dangerous?

It’s Time to Talk About Blue Light