The hormonal balance and the body of a woman change within a very short period during pregnancy. Everything is geared towards the perfect nourishment of the unborn and the impending birth. Unfortunately, the transition is also linked with unpleasant concomitant symptoms. Common pregnancy-related complaints are heartburn, sleep disorders and constant dry eyes, among other things.
The tear film changes during pregnancy
Every blink rubs uncomfortably over dry eyes. They burn and itch, and sometimes they are even so dry that you have the feeling that there is grit in your eyes. Many expectant mothers know this feeling. That is because the eyes are particularly sensitive during pregnancy due to the hormonal change. The tear film, which normally lies over the eye like a protective layer, often changes during pregnancy. It becomes thinner and breaks up more easily, so that the cornea dries out more quickly. In addition, the lacrimal glands generally produce less lubricating lacrimal fluid, which makes the symptoms of dry eyes even worse. The symptoms can increase if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer monitor, read or wear contact lenses.
Dry eyes – when to go to the doctor?
If you have severe symptoms or these are getting worse , it is time to visit an eye doctor. There is potentially an infection, caused by bacteria, behind it – antibiotic eye drops help against this. As these only act locally in the eye, you can normally also use them during pregnancy, without putting your child in danger. However, a doctor should make the decision on a case-by-case basis.
If you see flashes or flickering, do not hesitate and go to see a gynaecologist immediately. These symptoms could be an indication of pre-eclampsia, also formerly called pregnancy poisoning. It typically entails high blood pressure which you possibly notice in your eyes.
Flashes and flickering can also be symptoms of an impairment of the retina in the eye, for which an eye doctor should be consulted as a precaution.
First aid for dry eyes during pregnancy
You can try to improve your dry eyes with a few small steps. Try the following tips:
- Make sure you have a high air humidity by distributing containers with water around the room. The ideal air humidity is around 60 per cent.
- Drink lots, especially water or tea.
- Avoid cigarette smoke, draughts and air-conditioned rooms.
- Moisten your eyes with artificial tears in the form of lubricating eye drops. Choose a products with neither preservatives nor phosphates, for example HYLO® FRESH or HYLO-COMOD®. You can also use them several times a day over a prolonged period.
- A nurturing eye ointment containing vitamin A, such as VitA-POS®, is ideal for lasting lubrication during the night.
- Forego using cosmetics around the eyes if possible. During pregnancy, the body often reacts more sensitively to certain ingredients. Irritation and intolerances may occur which additionally affect the eyes.
- Do relaxation exercises now and again for your eyes. For this purpose, you can blink rapidly for one minute and spoil your eyes by gently tapping on them with your finger tips. Regular, short breaks are particularly important if your are working at a computer. Frequently let your eye wander into the distance. You should also make sure you have an optimally set-up workplace.
- Your eyes regenerate at night time while you are sleeping. Therefore, make sure you get enough sleep and restrict computer work, reading and watching television in poor light.
- If the symptoms are too severe, you may have to do without your contact lenses during pregnancy.
Do not neglect your dry eyes so that they stay healthy. If your eyes are too dry, the cornea will no longer be supplied with sufficient nutrients, which can lead to damage. It is also not so easy to defend against pathogens. Therefore, eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, develop more quickly.
Interesting fact: eyesight can suffer during pregnancy, too
Even more eye problems can occur during pregnancy. Many women notice that their eyesight changes. Suddenly, they can only read small print from a great distance. This is probably due to water retention in the eye tissue. The corneal curvature and the lens can be altered by this. But do not worry: after pregnancy, eyesight usually returns to normal.