A review of the changes in the ophthalmic and visual system in pregnancy

  • AE Omoti
  • JM Waziri-Erameh
  • VW Okeigbemen
Keywords: Pregnancy, Ocular changes, Diabetic retinopathy, Preeclampsia


Pregnancy is often associated with ocular changes which may be more commonly transient but occasionally, permanent. It may be associated with the development of new ocular conditions, or can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. The ocular effects of pregnancy may be physiological or pathological or may be modifications of pre-existing conditions. Adnexial changes include chloasma, spider angiomas and ptosis. Anterior segment changes include a decrease in conjunctival capillaries and an increase in the granularity of conjunctival venules and in corneal curvature, changes in corneal thickness, refractive index, accommodation and refractive errors, and a decrease in intraocular pressure. Posterior segment changes include worsening of diabetic retinopathy, central serous chorioretinopathy, increased risk of peripheral vitreochorioretinal dystrophies and retinal detachment, and a beneficial effect on non-infectious uveitis. Systemic disorders of importance include preeclampsia, Graves disease and multiple sclerosis. Intracranial disorders with ocular effects in pregnancy include Pseudotumor cerebri, prolactinomas and Sheehan’s syndrome (Afr J Reprod Health 2008; 12[3]:185-196).

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eISSN: 1118-4841