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.

Vision problems such as blurring or flashing lights in your eyes could be caused by:

  • a migraine
  • 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.

Pre-eclampsia 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.

Read more about pre-eclampsia.

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

Read more


NICE (2011) Hypertension in pregnancy: diagnosis and management. Clinical Guideline 107, London

NHS Choices Pre-eclampsia (Page last reviewed 07/06/2018 Next review due: 07/06/2018)

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Last reviewed on September 28th, 2018. Next review date September 28th, 2021.

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