Laser eye surgery is more affordable than ever before, and many adults are looking to take the plunge. (Imagine not reaching for your glasses as soon as you wake up.) But is it OK for everyone? I can think of nothing more convenient for mothers than having improved eyesight, but is it safe to get laser eye surgery while pregnant? It's understandable that you'd want to simplify your life before a baby comes, but you'll obviously want to know the risks.
The body goes through tremendous changes while you're pregnant, from changes to your blood volume, to increasing your sense of smell, all the way to altering the texture of your hair. It would stand to reason, then, that something might also be happening to your eyes when your body is so flooded with hormones. As it so happens, your eyes can and do change when you're pregnant, and that's a concern when deciding whether or not to get laser eye surgery while pregnant. Benjamin Bert, MD, an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, tells Romper that because of the changes to the eye that happen during pregnancy, it's really not a good idea to have LASIK or laser eye surgery while pregnant.
"The cornea — the clear front surface of the eye — is what is operated on in LASIK surgery. The surgery uses lasers to change the shape of the cornea, so it is important the shape of the cornea is stable," he says. "During pregnancy, the cornea can change — usually it swells a little bit — so it is not recommended to have LASIK done at that time."
Howard R. Krauss, MD, surgical neuro-ophthalmologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, agrees, telling Romper, “The ideal time for laser vision correction for women who may be considering pregnancy is a few months before pregnancy, provided they are otherwise a good candidate for the procedure and are not undergoing fertility treatment. Hormonal shifts, whether they be in association with fertility treatment, pregnancy, or breastfeeding may cause dryness and/or fluctuations in vision, resulting in a less than ideal laser vision correction result."
It's also important to consider whether or not you are choosing to breastfeed if you're hoping to get laser eye surgery at some point. "It is also not advisable to have LASIK when you are breastfeeding, as this too can cause changes to the eye," Bert says. "It is best to wait until both the pregnancy and breastfeeding has concluded before scheduling a consultation to have LASIK surgery performed."
So it seems like you're going to have to keep those glasses a little while longer. Thank goodness there are so many cute pairs, right?
Benjamin Bert, MD, ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley
Howard R. Krauss, MD, surgical neuro-ophthalmologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica