The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Study: Dry eye in pregnancy - what to expect?

Third trimester worst. By six weeks post-partum, things are much better (according to both signs and symptoms).

It’s all about… hanging in there. Like pregnancy itself, it doesn’t last forever. I remember my 3rd trimester vividly. I was one year post LASIK and my eyes were at their very worst in terms of vision, pain and dryness. We were living in England (Haywards Heath, Sussex) at the time. Landlords were an optometrist and his wife who had moved to Australia. Wife mentioned to me that her eyes got their very worst during her fifth pregnancy. - In my case, the dryness lasted pretty long post-partum. My vision was bad and my options were limited and I was absolutely chafing at the wait. My ophthalmologist, bless his heart, gave me pep talks about sticking it out and breastfeeding as long as possible before doing anything invasive or taking any drugs, in those moments where I found myself actually tempted to quit so that I could get surgery.

Dry eye disease: A longitudinal study among pregnant women in Enugu, south east, Nigeria. Nkiru et al, Ocul Surf. 2019 May 8


The objective of this study was to determine the course and prevalence of dry eye disease (DED) across different trimesters among pregnant women in Enugu, South East, Nigeria.


A prospective longitudinal study design was used. Pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, were consecutively recruited in their second trimester for the study. DED was assessed subjectively using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and objectively using Tear Break-up Time (TBUT) and Schirmer's test. These tests were performed during the second and third trimesters and six weeks post-partum. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20 and repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the means of the different parameters.


A total of 134 pregnant women participated in the study. The mean age of the women was 30.8 (±5.5) years. There were significant decreases (p < 0.05) in TBUT and Schirmer's values in the third trimester compared to the second trimester and the post-partum period. The highest score on the OSDI (18.6 ± 6.8) was obtained in the third trimester. The presence of DED was determined using cut-offs for TBUT <10 s or Schirmer's test <10 mm and the OSDI ≥13. Both symptoms of OSDI and prevalence of DED increased significantly (p < 0.05) from the second to the third trimester but returned to their lowest values 6 weeks post-partum.


The prevalence of DED was highest in the third trimester and lowest 6 weeks post-partum.