Everything you should know about LASIK Surgery and Pregnancy
When you decide to start a family, it comes with a lot of responsibilities including one that you have towards your body. While pregnant, certain activities should be avoided according to doctors. If you’re considering getting a LASIK surgery during the period, it is recommended that the decision should be delayed for some time to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
LASIK short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is a refractive surgery that is performed to correct some eye conditions including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The procedure involves reshaping the cornea which lets light entering the eye to be properly focused on retina so that your vision improves.
The surgery consists of a short procedure that lasts 15 minutes for both eyes and enables you to have clearer vision without the usage of spectacles or contact lenses. The patient will start feeling improvement over the course of a few days as the vision continues to stabilize after the surgery
This surgery is one of the safest eye procedures in the world with minimum or no side-effects and complications. The patient does not have to be put under anesthesia during the procedure and to get the best post-surgery results, they should have a stable prescription. There are many health concerns for women who are pregnant.
LASIK Surgery Procedure
The procedure entails a thin layer being in your cornea using a surgical instrument or a laser. The layer is then folded so that the surgeon can access the cornea and remove corneal tissue with the help of an excimer laser.
Excimer lasers facilitate in building an ultraviolet light beam which is used to remove extremely small tissue from the cornea and shape it in a way that additional light can enter the eye.
If you are suffering from myopia, also known as nearsightedness, the surgeon will compress the cornea. In the case of farsightedness, the cornea needs to be steeper to rectify the vision. Astigmatism can be corrected by smoothing an irregularly shaped cornea.
Effects of LASIK Surgery before, during and after pregnancy
Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body both hormonal and physiological. Pregnant women may experience a rise in estrogen and progesterone levels. There is also more blood flow to the uterus and kidneys and higher blood volume in the overall body.
There several symptoms that are not discussed as much as they should be. Morning sickness, swelling, improved skin conditions, and dramatic mood changes are some of the most commonly heard affects. However, pregnancy also impacts the eye and its vision. Women make up a huge population of my patients and eye-related issues during pregnancy must be discussed.
Hormones are one of the most affected parts of the body during pregnancy and after delivery as well when women are nursing babies. They are responsible for bloating as well as swelling through the body and one of the areas which experience this condition is the eyes. The corneas often change shape and increase in size which can cause blurred and foggy vision in pregnant women. While this usually happens during the time of pregnancy in most women, it can occur post-birth as well and last until nursing ends.
Before the surgery, doctors often prescribe medications such as antibiotics or steroids. The intake of this medication can lead to the exposure of these drugs to the fetus and in the case of a nursing mother, to the baby.
Another risk that expectant and new mothers can be exposed to either the development or deterioration of diabetes. Blood pressure is another concern during pregnancy which can lead to preeclampsia. Bleeding can also pose a threat therefore pregnant women should not be included in the pool of surgery patients for their health.
If you require a LASIK surgery and are also planning to grow your family, there exists a risk at this point as well. There should be a gap between your pregnancy and the surgery of at least 6 months as you risk weakening of vision if there isn’t. After pregnancy, your eyesight may return to its original condition but you may require an enhancement to achieve the same level of vision that you had after your first procedure.
Eye surgeons usually avoid operating on pregnant women due to the risks associated. You will be asked to postpone the procedure to preserve your vision. Another reason for avoiding surgery during pregnancy is that women are likely to suffer from dry-eye syndrome after the procedure. Although dry eye is a common post-surgery condition, pregnancy and hormonal imbalance in your body can greatly increase the risk of it.
Hormonal changes in the body trigger headaches and migraines which puts a strain on your eye and makes them more sensitive towards the light. Another way your eyes can be affected during pregnancy is the puffiness appearing around your eyes obstructing your side vision. It is important that you drink lots of water, eat a well-balanced diet and avoid intake of caffeine.
Any eye-related surgery can expose you to some form of radiation that may not be excessive but can be a risk to the fetus. Hormonal changes also take place during the breastfeeding period which can cause your cornea to exhibit changes. This brief change in the eye can lead to an inaccurate prescription and the corrective surgery will not be as precise as it should be after your eye condition has stabilized.
After giving birth, you should not rush into the eye surgery either. This is because you are probably nursing at the point and there can be negative consequences. Again, doctors recommend a gap of 6 months after you’ve stopped nursing to go ahead with the procedure. This keeps new moms safe from the side effects of otherwise safe surgery.
You should wait for 3-6 months after you’ve stopped nursing or for a duration of one menstrual cycle after the birth in case you’re not nursing to undergo the procedure.