Vision problems in pregnancy

Vision problems can be caused by different issues in pregnancy. If you have vision problems always tell your midwife or hospital straight away.

Why am I having problems with my vision and eyes? 

There are a few reasons why you may have problems with your vision during pregnancy. If things are blurred or you see flashing lights, this could be caused by: 

  • a migraine (a severe headache that can affect your senses) 
  • pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure in pregnancy). This is a type of high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks and goes away within 6 weeks of the baby's birth. It’s also known as gestational high blood pressure or gestational hypertension. 
  • water retention, which may affect the front of your eyes and change your vision slightly 
  • pre-eclampsia, which is a serious pregnancy condition that usually happens after 20 weeks. Other symptoms can include: 
  • a sudden increase in swelling in your face, hands or feet 
  • a very bad headache or a dull headache that won’t go away 
  • severe pain just below your ribs 
  • feeling sick or vomiting 
  • feeling unwell. 

Contact your midwife or GP immediately. If you have any of these symptoms. Read more about pre-eclampsia and how to get help.  

If you have any vision problems – even if you don’t have any other symptoms – call your midwife or hospital maternity unit straight away.

NICE (2019) Hypertension in pregnancy: diagnosis and management. NG133, London

NHS Pre-eclampsia Page last reviewed: 28 September 2021 Next review due: 28 September 2024  

Review dates
Reviewed: 21 February 2023
Next review: 21 February 2026