LASIK and Pregnancy – What Patients Should Know

Woman carrying a toddler on her back

Mother ChildLASIK is one the best options out there for people who would like to improve the overall quality of their vision. It’s an effective treatment option for refractive errors, which you might know better as:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

As effective as laser eye surgery can be for many people, not everyone is a good candidate for care. Certain health conditions can cause eye surgeons to be cautious when it comes to performing the procedure. Two in particular we’d like to focus on right now: pregnancy and nursing.

Can pregnant or nursing women undergo LASIK?

It is NOT advisable for a woman who is pregnant or nursing to undergo LASIK surgery. In fact, that is one of the reasons why a person would not be considered a candidate for surgery, at least for that timeframe.

Why is that the case?

When performing LASIK, a surgeon wants to ensure the most effective care possible and the safety of the patient. When a woman is pregnant or nursing, there are a number of factors that would put her wellness at risk, that would put wellness of the fetus at risk, and would not be best for solid vision down the line.

Hormonal Changes and Your Quality of Vision

During pregnancy, the body goes through many hormonal changes and physical changes. One such change is an unsteady or altered prescription. It’s not unusual for a woman to experience shifts in her vision while pregnant or nursing. These changes will last until her hormone levels normalize.

Protecting the Health of Your Fetus/Child

When performing LASIK at a laser vision correction center, dilating eye drops will be used as part of treatment, as will local anesthetic. In addition to this, patients may need to take medicated eye drops as part of aftercare.

This medication might have negative effects on the health of the fetus, so in order to be safe, we will not perform LASIK on the mother while she is with child. Since the medication may wind up in a mother’s milk as well, we’d rather be safe than sorry, so we similarly won’t allow nursing women to undergo LASIK.

Issues with Dry Eye Due to Pregnancy

Many women who are pregnant will experience dry eye as one of the side effects of the various hormonal changes. Dry eye is a side effect of LASIK surgery, and it can be especially uncomfortable for some people. In order to prevent severe discomfort for a patient, it’s best to avoid LASIK until the dry eye has passed.

Postpone LASIK Surgery Until Later

The best option for women who are pregnant and nursing is to wait to get LASIK. While timeframes will vary, a good general rule is to wait for two menstrual cycles after nursing is complete to undergo a LASIK consultation. By then, hormones should return to normal and the woman’s vision should be back to pre-pregnancy levels.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

If you would like to learn more about LASIK surgery and your many other options out there for advanced vision correction, it’s important that you speak with skilled ophthalmologists. To schedule a consultation, be sure to contact our Rapid City, SD eye care center today. The entire team looks forward to meeting you in person.