You know how you finish nursing sometimes and you want to suck down a gallon of water? It’s as if feeding your baby has sucked all the fluids out of your body, leaving you as parched as the Mojave. I experience this daily and in addition, I feel like the Mojave has dumped several pounds of sand into my eyes.
I’ve been having persistent dry eyes the past few weeks. They feel gritty and irritated and wearing contacts has gotten uncomfortable. I’m a blinking, winking, mess. My first thought was that ragweed season is starting and I’m experiencing allergy symptoms but that’s not it. A quick search of Google confirmed my second suspicion: pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause dry eyes.
Apparently, the hormone changes from pregnancy can affect tear production and cause dryness in the eyes. The effects can last through breastfeeding as well. (The can also occur as a result of menopause. Who knew estrogen levels had such an effect on eyes?).
The good news is that the dry eye symptoms usually resolve when pregnancy and/or breastfeeding ends. The bad news is that can be an awfully long time with gritty feeling eyes. According to WebMD, over the counter eye drops are usually sufficient to relieve the symptoms, though you might want to put in a call to your eye doctor and get some advice on the issue, especially if you wear contacts. I’ve had problems with my eyes in the past and, at that time, my doctor recommended preservative-free eye drops and giving my eyes plenty of rest from contacts. The mantra he taught me is that a wet eye is a healthy eye.
As always in pregnancy and breastfeeding, staying hydrated helps too. I know that my eyes feel worse on days I don’t drink enough water. If I’m feeling particularly dry and gritty under my lids, I chug some Gatorade and that seems to help.
I’m really hoping that my eyes will feel better over time. In the meanwhile, if you see me winking at you, it’s not a come on. I’m just a nursing mother with dry eyes.
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