In our regular series, optician and Specsavers’ clinical spokesperson Dr Nigel Best answers your eye health questions. This week is about eye health and pregnancy:

  • Hormonal changes such as being pregnant can affect your eyesight, why is that. Can things like taking the contraceptive pill, which can also change hormone levels, have an effect on eye sight?

The fluid levels in both the cornea and the tear film are under hormonal control. Small changes in these fluid levels can lead to changes in a person's spectacle prescription or tear quality. It is very common for both post menopausal women and pregnant women to experience dry eye symptoms.

Just a few ways of reducing dry eyes include reducing the setting on your central heating, avoiding car heaters, especially at face level, and sitting away from direct heat such as gas or electric heaters.

The dry sensation can be made worse with dehydration. Dr Best says: ‘Cut back on the coffee and drink more water. Using eye drops can add extra lubrication to dry eyes.’

The term dry eye' is also used when we don’t produce enough tears or our tears evaporate too quickly. People with dry eyes often have plenty of water in their tears but not enough oil, special drops and sprays to replace this oil can help a lot.

  • How often should you have your eyes tested?

It is normally advised that people have their eyes tested every 2 years. For some people thought to be at risk of certain eye diseases, a more frequent test will be recommended. Advice on having your eyes tested while pregnant.

  • What new procedures and products are there available now?

In the past few years the biggest change in high street optical practice has been the arrival of retinal photography. This allows optometrists to photograph and store retinal photographs which can be compared to those taken on a patient’s subsequent visit to check for changes.

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