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Pregnancy and Retina

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During pregnancy, the main threat to the visual system is the condition of the retina. The retina is a thin layer of nervous tissue located on the inside of the back of the eyeball.

It is responsible for the perception of the image projected on it through the cornea and the lens; it transforms the image into nerve impulses that are then transmitted to the brain.

The main problems that may appear in the retina are: retinal degeneration, retinal rupture, and retinal detachment.

The main concern of all pregnant women is to keep their vision.

In order to prevent possible complications of the eye during pregnancy and childbirth, it is necessary to determine in advance the condition of the visual system of the future mother and to check the integrity of the retina.

Regardless of how you see and the presence or absence of visual complaints, ophthalmologists recommend that you take an eye exam at 10-14 weeks of pregnancy.

In addition to the general examination of the visual system, it is necessary to perform a diagnosis of the eye fundus with the dilated pupil.

If the ophthalmologic examination does not reveal anomalies, it is recommended to repeat it at 32-36 weeks of pregnancy. However, if you have myopia, ophthalmologists recommend making a monthly exam. During pregnancy, the entire body of the woman is subject to change, including the visual system; therefore the eyes require particular attention from the future mother.

How will the delivery be?

Any woman who has some vision problems may ask herself at some point weather she can have a natural delivery or a caesarean section will be needed. The answer to this question is not a simple one because the decision on how the delivery will take place depends on several factors such as the condition of the retina and the eye, the general condition of the patient, the age, etc.

Cesarean is a surgical procedure which is performed only under absolute indications, i.e. in cases where natural birth is impossible or implies risks for the life of mother or fetus. Unfortunately, one of the most common indications for caesarean section is degenerative changes of the retina.

If you have myopia

As a result of pressure oscillations during natural birth, the risk of retinal detachment increases in women with myopia and other changes in the eye. In order to prevent the spread of degenerative changes of retina and to reduce the risk of retinal detachment, prophylactic laser photocoagulation could be used. During this procedure, the laser makes burns around the retinal tear, creating scarring that usually “welds” the retina to underlying tissue. Prophylactic peripheral laser photocoagulation can be applied at any time before pregnancy or during pregnancy up to 35 weeks.

The condition of the retina is not always related to the degree of myopia. Sometimes in a patient with a high degree of myopia, the condition of the retina is satisfactory, with no cracks and progressive degenerative changes. Conversely, people with slight myopia, not exceeding 1-3 diopters, may have dystrophic changes on the eye fundus.

If you are planning a pregnancy or are already pregnant, you should consult an ophthalmologist for eye examination. Keep in mind that a simple procedure reinforcing retina, done on time, can eliminate the need for a cesarean delivery.

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