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Have epiretinal membrane and accommodative insufficiency. Will it get worse after delivery?

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Practicing since : 1999
Answered : 1677 Questions
Hi Dr. Raichle, I want to ask you one more question. Now that the time has come to decide if I need the C-section or not, I need to know if labor could affect an eye condition I have. It's called Epiretinal Membrane and also I have Accomodative insufficiency. My ophtalmologist said this makes my vision in my left eye slightly blurrier than in my right eye, but there is no corrective treatment for it, except for a very heavy surgery which is not recommended. So could labor make this condition worse? I know in some cases with eye problems, people are not allowed to go through labor. Thanks
Posted Sat, 13 Apr 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Timothy Raichle 4 hours later
Hello, and thank you for the followup question.

I have done some research on "epiretinal membrane" and exactly what this means. There is, in fact, a surgery that can be done to correct this problem. From my research, it is not typically a problem affecting a 33 year old female, but rather a disease of older persons.

That being said, it is present and it is worth considering whether the increased intracranial / ocular pressure is an issue if you were to labor (versus scheduling a planned Cesarean Section). While I can find little information regarding this issue in pregnancy, my best professional guess is that it is NOT an issue if you were to labor (i.e. a prolonged labor and pushing would not make the condition worse).

Given, though, that your situation is perhaps a little unusual it would be best to ask for an opinion from you Ophtalmologist or a high risk OB as to whether there is an issue. Here are the questions that I would ask:

1. Is my condition unusual for my age?
2. Would it be a problem laboring with my pregnancy?
3. If I were to labor, would there be any benefit to shortening the time spent pushing?
4. Would you think there was a benefit to just planning a Cesarean Section?

From my understanding of your disease, there likely is not a problem with labor. I think it would be best to answer this question formally with someone who can better review your record and eye exam and make a fully informed decision.

Please ask if you have any additional questions!
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