Can you have laser eye surgery when pregnant or breastfeeding? The short answer is, preferably not. Vision correction surgery and pregnancy are not an ideal combination; in this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why.
Changes to vision during pregnancy
As you’ll no doubt be aware if you’re expecting a baby, the body changes in many unexpected ways during pregnancy. As well as causing stretchmarks and cravings, pregnancy can sometimes affect your eyesight. These changes are usually temporary, but they do mean your prescription might not be stable.
Because your vision is likely to change again when your hormone levels stabilise after you’ve given birth, it’s wise not to make any permanent changes (especially surgical) during this time. If you were to undergo laser eye surgery during pregnancy, and your prescription changed after a few months, the correction would no longer be effective.
That being said, it’s fine if you become pregnant AFTER you’ve had the surgery (even just one week following surgery) as the eye will return to its laser eye surgery status as soon as pregnancy and breastfeeding stop i.e. the pregnancy changes are all reversible.
Pregnancy and dry eyes
Another symptom sometimes experienced by pregnant women is dry eyes. Undergoing laser eye surgery while you have dry eyes isn’t ideal; it can affect the healing process following the procedure, so your surgeon will prefer to wait until your eyes return to normal. (If you suffer from pregnancy-related dry eyes you will also find that contact lenses are not suitable for use during this time; you’ll need to wear glasses instead).
Are there any risks to the baby?
Undergoing surgery would not pose any significant risks to your unborn baby. However, pregnancy is a time when medical practitioners are reluctant to perform any unnecessary procedures – just in case. Two things you’ll be advised to avoid during pregnancy are local anaesthetic and antibiotics, both of which are associated with laser eye surgery; so that means postponing the procedure until after the birth.
Breastfeeding and laser eye surgery
What about women who are breastfeeding? We advise to wait until three months after they have stopped nursing. That’s because, as in pregnancy, breastfeeding also has a major effect on your hormone levels – which can cause changes in your vision. Waiting three months after the cessation of breastfeeding gives your body enough time to adjust, and your prescription sufficient time to revert to normal.
If you’re not breastfeeding, we also recommend waiting for a period of three months following the birth, in order to let your body adjust.
Preparing for pregnancy
If you’re planning a pregnancy but are interested in laser eye surgery for the future, now is a good time to have a preliminary consultation. Knowing your prescription at this stage can help us to understand how your vision changes during your pregnancy – and it’s also handy if you need a new pair of glasses to replace your contacts (in case of dry eyes).
If you have any further questions about laser eye surgery and pregnancy, or you’d like to book a consultation, just contact us on 0808 133 2020.