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Is LASIK Safe During Pregnancy?

Wow!  New babies and new vision, two life-changing events in the same blog post – very exciting!  The answer to the question, however, is that the only safe place for LASIK and pregnancy to co-exist is in a discussion about the two…like this one!

LASIK is a lifetime decision, so it’s best to have LASIK when all considerations are as ideal as possible.  20/20 Institute LASIK specialists are firmly committed to a conservative approach, and, put simply, are not cavalier about any aspect of LASIK candidacy, including when the best timing for LASIK would be.

In this edition of the 20/20 Institute blog, we will show you why the LASIK specialist doctors at 20/20 Institute believe that keeping LASIK and pregnancy separate is in your best interest, as well as in the best interest of your baby.

In its simplest form, pregnancy and nursing generally affect the timing of having LASIK, provided that the patient is a good candidate.  As we have shared in other blog posts, there are four main categories of candidacy for LASIK:

  1. Age: 18 or older
  2. Good general health
  3. Good ocular (eye-related) health, and the correct corneal anatomy for LASIK
  4. Stable eyeglass prescription within the FDA-approved range for LASIK

The first reason why LASIK and pregnancy don’t mix is related to the fourth category:  eyeglass prescription stability.  The hormones present during pregnancy and nursing can sometimes have some side-effects on the mother, which is no surprise to any mothers or expectant mothers!  Turns out that vision changes are a possible side-effect.

Most women don’t experience changes in their vision during pregnancy, but a small percentage of women do.  Unfortunately, there is no test to determine whether a woman will experience changes in their vision before they become pregnant.

So, the best thing for the mother to do is to wait to have LASIK until she has weaned her baby and is back on a normal menstrual cycle.  This way, everyone can be confident that pregnancy-related hormones are not affecting the mother’s eyeglass prescription when she has LASIK.

Generally, it’s acceptable to have LASIK between pregnancies, so long as the mother is not nursing and meets all four criteria to be a good candidate for LASIK.  As with everything that’s important to you, our highly trained team and LASIK specialist doctors welcome a discussion about your family planning as it relates to your LASIK timing considerations.

It’s Not The Procedure, But Medications

The other reason that LASIK and pregnancy don’t mix has to do with the best interests of the unborn baby.  Many patients ask us, or themselves, how the LASIK procedure could affect the unborn baby simply because the womb is so far away from the eye.  The reality is that the procedure itself is not the concern, but rather the medicine used by the patient.

All LASIK patients will have some medicines involved in their LASIK care, and one of them, a mild sedative for anxiety offered for the procedure itself, is optional (although, understandably, most patients do choose to accept the medicine to help relax for the procedure itself).  Other medicines, however, are not considered optional.

LASIK is elective because non-surgical options exist to correct a person’s blurry vision.  These other options obviously have their downsides, of course, as getting rid of the hassles and constraints that go along with a frame on the face or lens in the eye are the reasons that patients choose to have LASIK.  That said, again, LASIK is a lifetime decision, so it’s best to have LASIK when the conditions are ideal.

The medicines that are prescribed for a patient as part of their LASIK care are naturally absorbed by the body and, if a woman is pregnant, can pass to the unborn baby.  If a mother is nursing their newborn, the very same considerations exist.  Clearly, whenever possible, it’s best to avoid the transfer of anything potentially harmful to the baby.

Contact 20/20 Institute

For these reasons, the LASIK specialist doctors at 20/20 Institute will not offer LASIK to a woman during pregnancy or while she is nursing.  We will be here for you when the timing is right. We want you to be happy with your decision and the care that you received from us.

Part of our mission statement reads this way: “All of our decision-making will be rooted in believing that what is in the best interest of our patients is in the best interest of 20/20 Institute.”  Our mission statement hasn’t changed a word since day one, and it never will.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, and we certainly hope that it has been helpful for you!  While we do enjoy serving up helpful information like this that you can access when you would like, please know that we are always happy to help in person as well. Give us a call at 303.202.0669 or have us contact you.  There’s never any pressure at 20/20 Institute.  We get out of bed every day to serve because we genuinely (another part of our mission statement) “value the privilege to play an important role in this life-changing event in our patient’s lives.”

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