Generally, LASIK during pregnancy is not a good idea.
In pregnancy, hormonal changes occur that could cause more unpredictability in the results you experience with LASIK. (Learn More) There is also the potential for your LASIK recovery to be impacted by your pregnancy.
As part of the LASIK procedure, your doctor may prescribe different medications. If you are pregnant, some of these may be risky for a developing baby. (Learn more)
While it is often recommended that pregnant women avoid LASIK surgery, there are exceptions. Doctors use certain criteria to determine if this surgery should be considered when you are pregnant. (Learn more)
Women who opt to wait until they have their baby need to know if this surgery is safe when they are breastfeeding. Just as with pregnancy, there are precautions you should take if you choose to have LASIK when you are breastfeeding. For example, you will need to confirm if you can take certain medications while breastfeeding. (Learn more)
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Does Pregnancy Impact LASIK Results?
When you are pregnant, your body experiences hormonal changes. These changes may affect your eyes and how they heal following LASIK, making the outcome of this procedure more unpredictable.
The following eye changes may occur during pregnancy:
- Corneal changes: In most cases, the corneal changes associated with pregnancy are due to water retention. This could increase corneal curvature and thickness, and decrease corneal sensitivity. Since this could produce temporary refraction changes, LASIK and other refractive surgeries may be contraindicated until the cornea returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
- Dry eyes: Pregnant women may experience dry eye. This is due to temporary issues affecting the lacrimal acinar cells.
- Ptosis: During pregnancy, your eyelid may droop. This can also occur following birth. In most cases, only one eye is affected.
- Intraocular pressure changes: If your eyes are otherwise healthy, your intraocular pressure may decrease during pregnancy. Within about two months of giving birth, the pressure usually returns to what it was before you were pregnant.
Refractive changes can also occur during pregnancy. These may cause you to need a different strength for your corrective lenses. The changes are typically temporary. However, they could make it difficult for the doctor to perform LASIK since your true level of refractive error will not be present.
How Medications Used for LASIK Affect Pregnancy
The medications used during and after LASIK may have negative effects on a fetus and a newborn baby if you are breastfeeding. A sedative is often recommended for LASIK so you can relax during the procedure. Valium and other benzodiazepines are common choices.
If you are pregnant, you may not be able to take Valium. If you are breastfeeding, Valium is also contraindicated.
It is possible to have LASIK without taking a sedative before the procedure. However, if you are prone to getting anxious, it is best to wait until you give birth, so you can take a sedative and be more relaxed during LASIK.
Some of these eye drops have been present in breastmilk after a single dose. Because of this, it is also recommended that you do not use these eye drops when you are breastfeeding your baby.
Eye drops or oral pain medicine may be given following LASIK to promote comfort. Depending on the medications your doctor recommends, they may be contraindicated during pregnancy.
Antibiotic eye drops, such as ciprofloxacin, may be prescribed following LASIK. There are limited studies on pregnant women, so it is recommended that you use this antibiotic only if it is absolutely necessary.
Prednisone eye drops may also be prescribed following LASIK. These are a type of steroid to reduce inflammation after the procedure. In general, you should avoid this medicine during pregnancy unless it is absolutely necessary. This is due to limited research on pregnant women using this medicine.
Should LASIK Be Postponed Until After Pregnancy?
It is typically recommended that you avoid LASIK when you are pregnant. If you have this surgery when you are pregnant, the eye changes that can occur during pregnancy could cause the shape of your eye to be improperly changed. Once the pregnancy eye changes subside, you may have noticeable vision problems that may require additional surgery or other treatments to correct.
How long you need to wait to have LASIK after pregnancy is a common debate. Some doctors recommend six months after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Other doctors say you should have at least two menstrual cycles following your pregnancy before you consider LASIK.
Can LASIK Be Done While Breastfeeding?
Doctor generally say that women should avoid LASIK when they are breastfeeding.
It is important that any changes to your eyes, especially your cornea, are resolved prior to the surgery. Your eye doctor can provide a timeline for when it is safe to have LASIK after you have weaned your baby.
Ultimately, the choice to have LASIK during pregnancy is up to you and your doctor, but it is usually not advised.
Ocular Changes During Pregnancy. (May 2012). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Pregnancy and Your Vision. Prevent Blindness.
LASIK and Pregnancy. (October 2016). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Learn About LASIK and Pregnancy. (July 2019). Verywell Health.
Diazepam. (July 2019). MedlinePlus.
Diagnostic Agents. American Academy of Ophthalmology.