You asked

I am pregnant and my eyes are very dry after wearing contact lenses. Is this normal?

It’s quite common to have dry eyes while you are pregnant. Your body is changing to cope with having to deliver a baby and it can affect visual acuity and the effectiveness of refractive eyewear. It is thought that during pregnancy less tears are produced which can lead to dry eyes. The eyeball can also change shape during pregnancy which can lead to contact lenses being uncomfortable. You may notice the following symptoms:
 
  • A feeling of something gritty in your eye
  • A burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Scratchy eyes
 
You may notice that it only occurs occasionally throughout the day and you may only experience mild discomfort. However, dry eye can become a real problem especially if you wear contact lenses. You may find that you can’t even put in your contact lenses because of discomfort. If your dry eyes are bothering you then you should see an optometrist or your G.P. They will be able to check your eyes and make sure that there is no infection. Dry eyes can be treated with artificial tears or ointments. Treatments that you buy over the counter may not be suitable to use while you are pregnant.
 
There are a few tips you can try which may reduce the discomfort you experience from dry eyes:
 
  • Don’t stare at a computer screen for too long. This will affect how often you blink and can make your eyes drier. Make sure to take plenty of breaks and make sure your screen is adjusted to the right level.
  • Massage your eyelids gently, rolling the end of your forefinger over the eyelids.
  • Try to avoid any smoky atmospheres as smoke will aggravate the eyes
  • Keep your eyes clean
  • Keep your environment humid. Air conditioning and central heating dry out the eyes. Try using a humidifier and keep the windows open (on warm days)
 

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