It shouldn’t come as a surprise that pregnancy hormones bring with them changes in your body that you might have not expected at all. From gaining a few pounds to losing hair, it becomes hard to tell what’s a red flag and what’s not. But did you know that pregnancy brings some visual changes too? One moment you’re just chilling on your couch and suddenly there are stars floating in front of you, and you’re totally confused.
Well, seeing starts during pregnancy can be due to a condition called the entopic phenomenon or a symptom of photopsia, which is triggered by pressure or stimulation of the retina. Apart from that, high blood pressure can also be a reason why the mother is seeing stars along with hormones reacting around.
Pregnancy and Your Eyesight
You must know that pregnant women typically report vision changes during their second and third trimester. It is normal and a more common side effect than you might think. However, it’s crucial to identify what is normal and what calls for a medical emergency.
Some of the causes of visual symptoms including dry eyes, blurred vision, puffiness, etc. while you’re pregnant are high blood pressure and hormonal changes. However, bear in mind that these changes should go away a few months after giving birth.
Sparkles While Pregnant: Reasons
Ever feel like you have a grain of sand in your eye? Your eyes burn, itch, or become overly watery suddenly? Blame it on your hormones.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause a reduction in the production of tears if not affecting the quality of your tears. This might cause you to have dried eyes during your entire pregnancy, but according to the latest evidence-based research, it’s more common in the third trimester.
To relieve the discomfort caused by dry eyes, your healthcare professional may advise you to use lubricating eye drops multiple times a day. If artificial tears don’t relieve your symptoms, speak with your eye doctor about additional options.
Another reason for dry eyes during pregnancy is the excessive use of contact lenses. To wear contact lenses comfortably, sufficient lubrication is required, either in the form of tears or lubricating eye solutions.
Even if you’ve been wearing contact lenses for years, they may become uncomfortable during pregnancy. Hence, it’s recommended that you only wear glasses for some time during the course of pregnancy
Besides dry eyes, pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelashes to seem puffier than they were before you became pregnant. You can also see deeper circles beneath your eyes. If swollen eyes irritate you, consider decreasing your salt and caffeine intake since these might worsen the condition.
The most common vision problem that pregnant women may encounter is blurred vision. One day, you may feel more nearsighted, while the next, distant things may appear unclear. Again, your hormonal variations are typically to blame for the brief loss of visual sensitivity, and your vision will most likely return to normal during the postpartum period.
But remember, eye prescriptions or prescribed glasses are not recommended while pregnant since this vision condition is temporary.
What Causes My Vision To Blur?
As told multiple times, hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy may promote fluid retention in several areas of the human body and can induce the cornea to gradually thicken. As a result, light entering the eye is not precisely focused, and vision may be impaired.
Apart from that, blurry vision can be an indication of gestational diabetes. This is a rare pregnancy complication that causes an increase in blood sugar levels as well as an effect on the focusing lens of the eye, resulting in blurry vision.
If you have diabetes, especially gestational diabetes, you should seek professional medical advice or an eye exam regarding the same.
Seeing Spots While Pregnant
Since we have looked at some of the common visual symptoms that pregnant women might experience, let’s talk about seeing spots or what many women classify as “stars” or “sparkles” during pregnancy. These “stars” are known as floaters.
What Floaters Actually Are
Eye floaters are frequently caused by age-related changes in the vitreous, a jelly-like material, within the eye. When the tiny fibers in the vitreous cluster together, they can produce small shadows over the retina. These shadows are referred to as floaters or stars.
When you gaze at the floaters and try to focus on them, you will notice that they will dart away. Floaters can also take the appearance of stars, threads, or cobwebs.
Some Common Reasons
They are caused by:
- Having holes on the retina.
- Having poorly controlled blood pressure.
- Diabetic retinopathy.
- Having blood clots in the retinal blood vessels.
- Any kind of viral infections in your eye
- Normal complications from eye surgery.
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus.
- Ocular changes.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Seeing Stars?
During your regular blood pressure check-ups, your midwife or doctor keeps asking if you’re seeing stars. Ever wondered why?
Having your blood pressure checked during your pregnancy is imperative as seeing stars during pregnancy indicates high blood pressure. Your blood pressure being high is linked to preeclampsia, which is a dangerous medical condition and can risk both the mother and child’s lives while posing a high risk of cornea and retina damage as well as other unusual visual changes.
What Is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a medical condition that happens during pregnancy marked by three major symptoms: high blood pressure, hand and foot swelling, and protein in the urine. In addition to damaging your lungs and heart, it can harm other organ systems, most often the liver and kidneys.
About 25% of women with severe preeclampsia and 50% of women with eclampsia experience visual symptoms, and they tend to intensify as the circumstances deteriorate.
According to the preeclampsia foundation, preeclampsia is often diagnosed at around 20 weeks of pregnancy and can last up to six weeks after giving birth; however, it normally disappears 48 hours after delivery.
When Do I Know If It’s a Medical Emergency?
Some pregnant women encounter still dark spots that include a larger area of the visual field. These dark spots are usually different from floaters or stars and are known as scotomata. They’re taken very seriously since they too can be symptoms of preeclampsia or eclampsia.
Preeclampsia can be particularly risky because many of the symptoms are quiet, while others mirror “typical” pregnancy effects on your body. Many women with preeclampsia don’t feel unwell and may be startled or upset when they are taken to the hospital or recommended bed rest since they don’t feel sick.
Because most people don’t “feel” their blood pressure rising, the condition is commonly referred to as a silent killer. We urge you to get familiar with the signs and symptoms to empower yourself and/or others throughout pregnancy.
- Pregnant and non-pregnant women alike should be concerned about temporary eyesight loss. One of the warning symptoms of preeclampsia is vision loss, so call your doctor right away if you suddenly lose any area of your visual field.
- Light sensitivity can be a typical side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can be a warning indication of dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
- Apart from that, if you think you have abnormally swollen hands and feet, that might be one of the symptoms of preeclampsia, and it’s time to call your health care provider.
Does Anxiety Cause You To See Stars?
Having depression or anxiety during pregnancy is more common than you think. You might be wondering what it has to do with seeing stars. Here’s some information:
According to high-quality sources, 2017 research surveyed 61 people who had no diagnosis of eye problems but claimed to see floaters or flashing lights. They were interrogated about having severe headaches or how often they saw sparkles.
Those people were then asked a few questions pointing to depression and anxiety and when they attempted to retrieve information from the study, it was concluded that the people seeing stars had stronger symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to those who didn’t see floaters.
So, medical reviewers confirm that since pregnant women are prone to having anxiety attacks, this might be one of the reasons they’re seeing stars.
How Do I Stop Seeing Stars?
As we have already discussed, one of the common reasons for seeing stars is high blood pressure; hence, keep checking your blood pressure level every now and then and remember there is nothing to be anxious about. Pregnancy can surprise you in more than one way and that is fine.
Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated; there is a great possibility you’re seeing stars because you’re light-headed. Moreover, drinking water has helped many people during pregnancy.
Apart from staying hydrated, get enough rest and don’t wear yourself out. If you’re having migraines or headaches, it’s advised that you use Tylenol, which should help you with seeing stars.
Lastly, enjoy every bit of your pregnancy. Seeing stars or other eye problems that you might experience during pregnancy is usually caused by hormonal changes. Know that this is completely normal and there is nothing to worry about as long as your blood pressure is in control. It becomes dangerous when you lose your vision or feel sensitive to light.