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Can You Get an Eye Exam While Pregnant?

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Pregnancy can require you to make several lifestyle changes. If you’re pregnant, can you still visit your optometrist for an eye exam

Continue reading to learn more about pregnancy and your eye health, including if you can receive an eye exam while pregnant. 

Why Get an Eye Exam? 

An eye exam can seem unnecessary if you can see fine, so why should you get one? 

Comprehensive eye exams help protect your eye health and vision. Your eyes go through many changes with time, and these changes aren’t only related to how well you can see. Issues can develop even if you have 20/20 vision. 

Many eye diseases can develop with limited if any symptoms until your vision is affected. With the damage these diseases can cause, eye exams are necessary for identifying problems before they put your vision at risk. An early diagnosis means faster treatment. 

Some common eye problems that develop with time include: 

What to Expect During Your Eye Exam

Your eye exam consists of several tests to assess your eye health and vision. After completing these necessary tests, your optometrist can diagnose any problems you’re experiencing and recommend an effective treatment plan. 

Before beginning your tests, you and your optometrist will discuss your ocular health. 

Medical History

Your exam begins with a quick discussion about your medical history. This conversation will cover your family history, current work and personal lifestyle, and other relevant details. You can bring up any questions or concerns you may have, and your eye doctor will answer them to the best of their ability. 

Visual Acuity 

Your visual acuity is how well you can see. Your eye doctor typically tests this using a Snellen eye chart and a phoropter, a device used to test your prescription. 

Eye Health

Examining your eye health allows your optometrist to look for signs of eye disease and assess the internal structure of your eyes. Your eye doctor uses several diagnostic tools during this portion of the exam, such as fundus photography and visual field testing.

Recommendations & Treatment

After completing your tests and reviewing the results, your optometrist will provide recommendations for your eye health and vision. They will create a treatment plan to address any diagnosed problems, such as prescribing medication or corrective eyewear

Can You Get an Eye Exam While Pregnant? 

Yes, you can receive an eye exam while you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s ideal that you receive an eye exam during your pregnancy. You’re likely seeing your obstetrician regularly, but don’t ignore other doctors.

Hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy can affect your vision and eye health, and visiting your eye doctor can help manage these potential changes. 

How Pregnancy Affects Your Vision

Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. You may not know it, but pregnancy can affect your vision, either worsening it or placing it at risk

Watch for signs of changes in your vision, and contact your optometrist if you experience any of the following. 

Blurred Vision

It’s common to experience vision changes throughout your pregnancy. If your vision consistently declines or you have differing clarity from time to time, you may be experiencing refractive changes. Your eye structure and shape can change over time due to fluid retention during pregnancy. 

These visual changes are typically temporary, and your vision should return to normal after delivery. Some people may have permanent changes to their vision, requiring a new prescription. 

Women experiencing dry eye and discomfort during pregnancy

Dry Eyes

The hormonal changes you go through during pregnancy can cause a natural decrease in tear production. When you produce fewer tears, it can cause dry eyes throughout your pregnancy. Some common signs of this condition include stinging, gritty, scratchy, or burning sensations in the eyes. 

If you weren’t previously dealing with dry eyes, your symptoms typically go away after giving birth. However, some people’s symptoms may continue and need treatment. If left untreated, dry eyes can significantly affect your quality of life or impair your vision. 

Booking an eye exam is a good idea if you experience dry eyes during pregnancy. Your optometrist can recommend ways to help relieve your symptoms. 


If you have diabetes or gestational diabetes, you’re more at risk of significant eye conditions. These conditions typically worsen during pregnancy and can cause permanent damage to the blood vessels within the eyes. 

Never ignore any signs of an eye problem, including: 

Visit your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Ideally, you should visit your optometrist once every trimester if you have diabetes or gestational diabetes. They can examine the blood vessels in your eyes and help you reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy, a vision-threatening disease. 

Don’t Postpone Your Eye Exam

There’s a lot to keep in mind during pregnancy, but don’t ignore your ocular health. The many changes you experience can affect your vision, so watch for signs of an eye problem. Your eye doctor is here to help. 

Contact your optometrist if it’s time for an eye exam or if you’re experiencing signs of a problem. 

Written by Dr. Robert MacAlpine

Dr. MacAlpine graduated from Queen’s University, and attended the New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA. He graduated in 1999 with clinical and academic honours and was recipient of the Alcon Award for Most Outstanding Contact Lens Clinician. His internships included Pediatric and Low Vision focused training, several Veteran Affairs Hospitals in the greater Boston area, and the Barnet Dulaney Cataract and LASIK Center in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating, Dr. MacAlpine established a successful practice and optical store in the Boston area. Practicing in the United States allowed him privileges of treatment and prescribing for eye diseases that were not permitted to Ontario Optometrists until 2011. Robert was thrilled to return to his native Ontario in 2011 to raise his two daughters, Deanna and Ella with his wife Amy. He enjoys playing hockey and being active with his family.
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