Glaucoma is a group of diseases which causes damage to the optic nerve due to high eye pressure. A common misconception is that glaucoma affects only older people. However, it can affect those of all ages. With more women waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children, the relationship between glaucoma and pregnancy is important for them to understand.
Pregnant Women Should Visit an Ophthalmologist
Since pregnancy affects glaucoma patients differently, it is critical for women who are pregnant to make an appointment with an obstetrician and an ophthalmologist as early on as possible. Eye pressure may decrease during pregnancy for many women, but for others, it may spike. For this reason, pregnant women with glaucoma should have periodic eye exams scheduled throughout the pregnancy and must follow through with all recommended appointments.
Most Glaucoma Medications are Safe for the Developing Fetus
It is understandable for expectant women to be concerned about glaucoma medication harming the developing fetus – as certain medicines should not be taken during pregnancy. However, several glaucoma medications and treatments are safe for use during pregnancy. It is essential to take prescribed medication exactly as directed to keep vision healthy and minimize any potential risk to the developing baby.
Glaucoma and Diabetes
Glaucoma is not always an isolated health condition. Often, glaucoma patients also have hypertension or suffer from diabetes. In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. Researchers are discovering more connections among conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, suggesting that each of these conditions could affect glaucoma risk. Therefore, women with glaucoma who are planning a pregnancy should see a primary care physician for a complete physical.
If you have glaucoma, you can have a healthy pregnancy. Create a strong partnership with your ophthalmologist, obstetrician and primary care physician to protect your vision and give your baby the best possible start.