FAQs About Protecting Your Eyes From Diabetic Retinopathy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause a number of changes to your body, including your eyes. If you have diabetes, you have to be especially careful with monitoring your eye health and blood glucose levels because diabetic retinopathy can occur. Here is what you need to know to protect your eyes.  

Why Does Diabetic Retinopathy Develop?

When your blood sugar levels are too high, the blood vessels in your eyes can be damaged. The damaged blood vessels can cause swelling and eventually close. The result is diabetic retinopathy. 

Diabetic retinopathy can cause a number of symptoms, including poor night vision, floaters, blurred vision, and difficulty distinguishing colors. Eventually, the disease can result in permanent vision loss.  

During pregnancy, your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy are higher because hormonal changes can make it difficult to manage blood glucose levels. If you had diabetic retinopathy prior to becoming pregnant, the disease's progress can be increased.  

How Is It Treated?

During your pregnancy, it is important that your vision is regularly monitored by your optometrist. If the diabetic retinopathy has progressed to the point that treatment is required, laser surgery might be used. Your optometrist will assess your condition to determine if it is necessary and safe to have.  

The optometrist's main concern will be stabilizing any swelling that has occurred as a result of the eye disease. The swelling can lead to other serious eye problems, including retinal detachment. Your doctor might recommend waiting until the last trimester of the pregnancy to lower the risk of the surgery impacting your baby.  

What Can You Do?

To avoid developing diabetic retinopathy, it is imperative that you focus on controlling your blood sugar levels. Your OB/GYN might recommend more frequent testing of your levels each day. If you notice any significant changes in your levels, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.  

In addition to monitoring your levels, you also need to take your insulin or other blood glucose regulating medications that are prescribed. Review the medications you are taking with your OB/GYN to ensure that they are safe to take during your pregnancy. 

Exercising is necessary for controlling your blood sugar levels. Talk to your OB/GYN about which exercises are safe and the frequency at which you should be exercising. 

You also need to have regular eye examinations with your optometrist. He or she might recommend more frequent screening until you give birth. Report any changes to your vision to your optometrist immediately. For more information, contact companies like Northwest Ophthalmology.