If you’re hoping to undergo laser eye surgery, pregnancy may not be the best time to do it. Here we’ll explain more about laser eye surgery and pregnancy, and why you may get better results if you wait until you’ve had the baby and finished breastfeeding.
Hormonal changes and how they can affect your vision
During pregnancy and lactation, some women experience hormone-induced changes to their vision. These occur due to the extra oestrogen in your body, which can cause the collagen fibres in the eye to relax. This in turn can affect the shape of your cornea and the way that it refracts light.
Laser eye surgery isn’t advised if your eye prescription has changed in the past two years, because there’s no guarantee your eyesight will remain stable following the procedure. If your prescription keeps changing after LASIK or LASEK, your vision won’t remain optimal – just as it wouldn’t if you had glasses made to a specific prescription, which no longer suited your eyes.
Obviously, it’s a little more impractical to undergo further surgery a few months down the line than it is to get a new pair of lenses made for your glasses, so laser eye surgery is not advised during a period when your eyesight is likely to be unstable. Pregnancy, breastfeeding and LASIK are usually considered incompatible.
Antibiotics and other medicines
If you’ve ever wished for ibuprofen to ease a headache during pregnancy or yearned for decongestants to fight a cold while nursing your baby, you’ll know that there’s a sizeable list of medicines that are off the table when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Like food, the medicines you ingest while pregnant will cross the placenta and reach the baby. After the birth, traces of your medicine can be passed to the baby through your breastmilk, and some can also cause you to produce less milk.
During laser eye surgery, patients receive anaesthetic drops to numb the eyes. Antibiotic cream is also applied topically to prevent infection. Because both of these are usually contraindicated in pregnancy, many surgeons will be reluctant to treat you if you are expecting a baby or have just given birth. Breastfeeding and laser eye surgery are discouraged for similar reasons.
How long should I wait?
When patients ask us about laser eye surgery and pregnancy, our usual advice is to wait until three months after the birth, or if you breastfeed your baby, three months after you have finished breastfeeding.
That being said, you may feel that now is the right time for vision correction. Perhaps you have not experienced any fluctuations in your prescription during your pregnancy, or you plan to breastfeed for an extended period and don’t want to wait that long for perfect vision.
Everyone is different, so the best course of action is to book an appointment to discuss your own individual circumstances. Call us on 020 3369 2020 for a consultation with Allon Barsam.