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Hello, last Saturday I noticed what I thought was a light spot in my right eye...

Hello, last Saturday I noticed what I thought was a light spot in my right eye. It appeared white when my eye was closed, roughly the size of a 5 pence piece close to my eye. It's almost a perfect filled in circle, slightly below my focal point. On Sunday I realised it's actually there all the time, appearing grey when my eyes are open. It hasn't changed all week. Using a computer screen is tricky, driving makes me a little nervous. I saw an optician and the GP, who both can't find anything wrong, so now I'm waiting on a hospital referral - but nobody seems to be treating this as an urgent issue. I am also 32 weeks pregnant. Urine and blood pressure normal. Had previously had the test for gestational diabetes and haven't yet had confirmation letter that results was negative, but I'm told I would have heard if result was positive. Should I be relived that no one is treating this as urgent, or should I be chasing up a hospital appointment. I'm obviously very anxious that my sight is suddenly impaired. I've never had glasses before, but I have suffered with visual migraines in the past - this is not the same affect as those were. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

16 March 2021

Thank you for writing to us here at Ask the Expert.

The reason for this visual disturbance could be due to a variety of medical conditions, some of which are pregnancy related and others that are of a general medical concern.

In pregnancy there are a lot of hormonal changes occurring. These can impact on the neurological system and where people are known to suffer from migraines, it has been noted that these can increase in the early stages of pregnancy before settling in last mid and last trimesters.

Another possible cause related to pregnancy that can cause visual disturbances is the condition pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia often presents with a combination of symptoms, including the raising of your blood pressure, protein in the urine, headaches and spots that may float in front of your eyes. However, it is possible to have this condition with very few symptoms.

Your midwife should be monitoring you and we would suggest you mention these visual disturbances to her. It may be that blood and urine tests can be done to exclude this condition.

If there is diabetes present then it is important to have screening as uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to retinopathy, which is where the blood vessels in the back of the eye get damaged.

We would suggest again that you ask the midwife to review your recent diabetic screening results and if need be, refer you to a specialist. 

Other possible causes for this spot before your eye could be due to conditions such as a build up of collagen, detached or torn retina or the beginnings of a cataract.

However we suspect if any of these are the cause of the spot before your eye it would have been picked up by your GP or optician.

We would suggest that you return to your GP and midwife and ask for further investigations into the possible cause of this visual disturbance.

We would also suggest asking for investigations to rule out pre-eclampsia and diabetes, and also a possible referral to an ophthalmologist who could exclude visual medical concerns.

Wishing you all the best and, all the best with the rest of your pregnancy.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

Further reading and resources

Pregnancy hub - AXA Health

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