The Effect of Labor on the Intraocular Pressure in Healthy Women

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Purpose:To investigate the effect of modern vaginal labor using epidural anesthesia on the intraocular pressure (IOP) and on the mean ocular perfusion pressure (MOPP) in healthy women.Patients and Methods:In this prospective observational study, eligible candidates were healthy pregnant women for vaginal delivery with epidural anesthesia, with a singleton pregnancy, who were admitted to the delivery room in the first phase of the first stage of labor. Demographic data as well as medical and obstetric history were obtained at baseline, followed by performance of a biomicroscopic examination. IOP, maternal heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure were measured in the first, second and third stages of labor, 24±2 and 48±2 hours postpartum. IOP was not measured during the contraction phase of stage 2. MOPP was expressed as the difference between the arterial blood pressure and the IOP. Measurements were performed throughout the different stages of labor and were compared with baseline values.Results:Thirty healthy white women were enrolled. Four women dropped out due to unexpected cesarean sections. The average age was 31.8±4.7 years. Nineteen participants received oxytocin during delivery. Twenty-three women were placed in a supine position, whereas 3 in a left decubitus position. No statistically significant changes were recorded in IOP (P=0.50) or MOPP (P=0.17) throughout the different stages of vaginal labor in this study.Conclusions:Vaginal delivery under epidural anesthesia is unlikely to cause significant damage to the optic nerve in healthy women.

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