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Are There Problems Getting Lasik Before Pregnancy

Are There Problems Getting Lasik Before Pregnancy

When is the best time to have lasik in your life? During life there are many things that compete with the goal of going glasses free. Early on, its waiting for the prescription to stabilize. Then it may be saving up enough for the lasik procedure. But eventually, another life event comes into play: having children.

During pregnancy is not the time get lasik done. But what about fitting it in beforehand? Can lasik be done with the same levels of success before pregnancy?

Lasik is equally successful before or after pregnancy. Some people may have some short term prescription changes during pregnancy. But since these prescription changes eventually resolve after pregnancy in nearly all individuals, these don’t have any long term changes on any lasik performed prior to the pregnancy.

One also doesn’t have to wait too long after lasik before becoming pregnant.

So if you wanted to get lasik before getting pregnant, it’s fine to do so without worry. But is important to be aware of how your eyes can change during pregnancy and how that can temporarily affect your lasik treatment.

Recovery After Lasik

First off, lasik has something good going for it. Lasik has a very short recovery period.

Most people having lasik eye surgery are mostly recovered by the end of the first month after lasik. In fact, much of that recovery is even shorter. For most people, it only takes about a day for the vision to sharpen up after lasik. Prescription eye drops are only required for the first week. Beyond the first week, its mostly some lingering water-related restrictions and some residual dry eye that needs to continue healing up.

It is very quick and easy to get lasik eye surgery and recover ALL BEFORE pregnancy. As long as you can wait a month (or at the very least a week) to get pregnant, you don’t have to worry much about the lasik recovery and the pregnancy overlapping.

But the important question: will the pregnancy affect the results and accuracy of lasik?

Eye & Prescription Changes From Pregnancy

It is very well known that the body goes through certain changes during pregnancy. Sometimes, the eye and cornea are also affected by these changes. One of the more important ones (concerning lasik) is that the cornea can become slightly thicker and become slightly more steep.

The cornea is important in determining our eye prescription. Light that enters our eye is first focused by our cornea before passing through our lens and reaching the retina on the back of the eye (in fact, lasik corrects vision by changing how the cornea focuses light).

Light focusing in the eye by the cornea and lens

Light focusing in the eye by the cornea and lens; image by Sunshineconnelly at en.wikibooks, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If the cornea changes, the prescription of the eye can change. If you had all your prescription treated with lasik, these changes can create new untreated prescription and blurry vision in your eyes.

But before you worry, theses changes nearly always eventually return back to the original values after the pregnancy and nursing; returning you back to no prescription and perfect vision after lasik.

Having had lasik doesn’t even increase the risk of the cornea changing during pregnancy. You are equally as likely to have a change in prescription with lasik as you are without having had lasik. The lasik treatment exists completely independently of pregnancy.

In fact, you may be less likely to have a permanent change in prescription because of pregnancy.

At some point in our life, vision stops changing. For most people, this occurs at the tail-end of their teenage years. Lasik works well to correct vision when the vision stabilizes and stops changing. (A lasik treatment can’t automatically adjust to a changing prescription).

But there are other situations in which vision CAN continue to change. Our lives are increasingly involving more and more up close activities on our computers and phones. These up close activities can contribute to continued change in prescription.

If your prescription stabilizes, you get lasik and then the prescription changes again, you will end up off target and will have some blurred vision from the prescription change.

But large population studies have actually demonstrated less long-term changes in prescription during pregnancy! While these association may have less to do with the actual pregnancy itself and more to do with lifestyle changes during pregnancy (those that were pregnant ended up spending more time outdoors), it is still reassuring to know that you aren’t at an increased risk of a permanent prescription change after lasik due to your pregnancy.

Adverse Effects Of Pregnancy On Lasik

If you remember from up above, the recovery after lasik is short. In fact, there is really only one thing which extends the recovery from lasik beyond that first week.

Everyone will have some degree of dry eye after lasik.

Our cornea has tiny nerves which sense when the eye is drying out. These nerves signal the eye to produce more tears. But these nerves get disrupted by the lasik flap and lasik treatment. Until these nerves regrow, the eye has a hard time producing tears after lasik. This means the eye will have more dryness after lasik. For most people, much of this extra dryness is felt just within the first month. But others can experience this much longer up to three to six months out.

Pregnancy can affect this recovery from dry eye after lasik. During pregnancy, the eye dries out more. The eye will produce less tears and there is an increase in inflammation on the eye. These both contribute to extra dry eye during pregnancy. It’s not ideal to add on extra dry eye on top of the lasik recovery. This can really make the eyes feel more uncomfortable and prolong the recovery from lasik.

If you know you already have dry eye, it is best to use artificial tears to treat that dry eye prior to lasik and it may be beneficial to postpone getting pregnant until the eyes are fully recovered from lasik.

Summary

Lasik works just as well before pregnancy as it does afterwards. While pregnancy does come with some potential changes to the eye, these changes are temporary for almost all individuals. In fact, the prescription may even be less likely to change permanently during pregnancy than during other times in life. But while the recovery after lasik is short, it is still important to be aware of potential dry eye issues during pregnancy which can prolong the recovery from dry eye after lasik.

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