LASIK and Pregnancy: Why it May Be Better to Hold Off
The only regret that many of our LASIK patients have is that they didn’t get the procedure sooner. We often encourage patients to get LASIK now so they can start enjoying the benefits of better vision. However, pregnancy is one exception to this rule. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be best to wait before scheduling LASIK or PRK.
We encourage all interested LASIK patients to come in for a consultation with Dr. Will. Pregnancy doesn’t always disqualify a patient from surgery although, in many cases, it is best to wait. Schedule a consultation to get personalized advice and treatment recommendations from one of the best refractive surgeons in the Pacific Northwest.
Pregnancy and the Eyes
Pregnancy is a time of major change for the body and that includes the eyes. Water retention can cause the cornea to change shape, leading to minor changes in your vision. Hormones can also affect your vision. During pregnancy, dry eye and visual disturbances are more common.
These side effects of pregnancy typically go away shortly after delivery when hormone levels revert to their pre-pregnancy state. If you plan to breastfeed, vision changes may linger until the baby is weaned.
LASIK and Medications
We use specific medications before, during, and after LASIK surgery to ensure the best possible outcomes from your procedure. These medications can include antibiotic eye drops, anti-inflammatory eye drops, and lubricating eye drops.
Although these medications are very safe, many have not been tested on pregnant women. Developing fetuses are very sensitive to their environment, including any medications that their mother may use. Eye drops do enter the bloodstream, and drops that aren’t tested and considered safe for pregnancy have the potential to affect a growing baby.
How Long After Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Should I Wait for LASIK Surgery?
LASIK surgery can be performed shortly after pregnancy, as soon as your vision stabilizes and returns to its pre-pregnancy prescription. We recommend waiting 1-2 months after you’ve finished breastfeeding. If your vision changed during pregnancy, additional time may be needed. Dr. Will can help you decide if the time is right for surgery during your consultation.
How Soon Can I Get Pregnant After LASIK Surgery?
Although LASIK isn’t typically recommended during pregnancy, it can be performed prior to pregnancy. There is no need for an extended delay after LASIK before pursuing pregnancy. Dry eye can occur in some pregnant women. We recommend waiting until you’re healed from your procedure, usually a month or two after surgery, to ensure that dry eye won’t affect your LASIK results.
Some women experience eye changes during pregnancy. This can cause your vision to change temporarily, even after LASIK. Some women will need to use glasses during their pregnancy. After your hormone levels return to their normal state, your clear post-LASIK vision should return. A touch-up may be needed in some circumstances.
Many women are delighted that they received LASIK before pregnancy. Contacts can be difficult to wear during pregnancy because of dry eyes. LASIK can help you improve your vision without the need for glasses or contacts and many women enjoy clear vision throughout their pregnancies because of LASIK surgery.