How Does Alcohol Affect Vision and Eye Health?

To understand the amount of alcohol required to affect vision, we first must discuss alcohol blood levels. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. Also, be sure to drink water in between your alcoholic drinks in order to prevent yourself from getting drunk. Limit yourself to one drink an hour and remember that one drink can equal a glass of wine, a shot of hard liquor, or a can/bottle of beer.

  • A person should talk with a doctor about treatment options that will work for them.
  • Swelling of the blood vessels in the eye or the look of red bloodshot eyes is a common feature of those who have been lifetime drinkers.
  • Getting red eyes after drinking is not a long-term consequence, and your eyes should regain their normal color once the alcohol has left your system.

It is a more serious condition than some of the other effects described above. Aside from the side effects listed above, there are many other ways that excessive alcohol affects the eyes. Certain illnesses can weaken the muscles moving the eyes and produce double vision. Damage to the muscles that move the eyes or the nerves that control eye movement can create a double image.

Alcohol and ocular surface disease

Drinking too much can also alter your peripheral vision, causing you to have tunnel vision. Your pupils will also react more slowly, so they will not be able to constrict or open up as well. This can make driving very difficult since you can’t react well to headlights.

Alcohol Consumption and Blurred or Double Vision

An increased risk of damage to the optic nerve can occur if you’re a heavy drinker. Research has shown that drinking even small amounts of alcohol can lead to dryness in the eyes, because alcohol is a diuretic. This means it makes you urinate more frequently, and that dehydration can make your eyes feel uncomfortable. In the long-term, regular consumption of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of developing cataracts as early as 40 years old, and cause blurring of vision or double vision that doesn’t go away. One of the physical characteristics of someone who is a heavy drinker is bloodshot eyes.

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Excessive alcohol consumption can also slow down the pupil’s reaction time. Pupils won’t be able to dilate or constrict appropriately in response to changes in light conditions. In this situation, your ability to see colors and shades becomes impeded.

  • One of the scariest possible consequences of alcohol on the eyes is permanent blindness or vision loss.
  • The potential long-term issues relate to changes to the eyes’ structures or the communication between the eyes and brain.
  • Prenatal exposure to ethanol may end in fetal alcohol spectrum disease, where ocular findings are a constant component.
  • BAC is expressed as a percentage in that 1% BAC means the individual has one alcohol molecule against 99 blood molecules.
  • When you think of a person who abuses alcohol, you might imagine their eyes to be bloodshot or even have a yellow tint.
  • This process can be severe and should always be completed under medical supervision.

You may consider first reaching out to a doctor, as they may be able to help determine your medical needs and possibly refer you to treatment centers. You may also be able to find alcohol addiction treatment near you by visiting the SAMHSA treatment locator. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a progressive eye health condition that causes permanent and irreversible damage to your central vision. Early onset cataractsIn normal, everyday situations, cataracts typically begin to develop after age 55. However, recent research has shown heavy drinking significantly contributes to the development of cataracts and increases the risk of experiencing the condition much earlier than age 55. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that excessive drinking can lead to changes in the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, immune system, and even contribute to cancer.

Temporary Effects of Alcohol on Eye Health

We think of our patients as family and have been leaders in eye care since 1981. Our modern advanced technology and friendly and supportive staff have led to our being one of the premier eye care and centers for surgery on the western coast of Florida. At Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute, we are proud to deliver personal service that has ensured the satisfaction of our patients. If you are experiencing any eye problems or vision that is blurred or fuzzy, it might be time to make an appointment at Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute to have a comprehensive examination.

  • A large longitudinal study published in 2021 similarly showed a link between low to moderate wine drinking and a lower risk of developing cataracts that required surgery.
  • According to many health care and eye care professionals, men who drink 3 alcoholic beverages a day and women who drink 2 are already at risk for long-term effects.
  • It may also damage or speed up the aging of various structures inside the eye, such as the lens, retina, and optic nerve.
  • If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, it’s time to get help.
  • As a result, information is not passed between the eyes and the brain as quickly as it usually is when a person is sober.
  • Consuming alcohol may increase dehydration, promote inflammation, and disrupt vitamin transport — all factors that can negatively affect tear quality and quantity.

In extreme cases, some slip into a coma and even die due to respiratory failure. Alcohol intoxication and drugs such as benzodiazepines, opioids, or certain anti-seizure medications can sometimes cause this. Head injuries such as concussions can also cause temporary double vision. Monocular double vision may occur when the double vision results from an issue with just one eye.

Swelling of the blood vessels in the eye or the look of red bloodshot eyes is a common feature of those who have been lifetime drinkers. Another problem that excessive drinking leads to is migraine headaches, as the eye becomes sensitive to light; the result is pain. In this review, the concept of heavy drinking will be clarified through both quantitative and qualitative descriptions of daily alcohol consumption based on moderate or heavy alcohol abuse. Heavy drinking can lead to long-term effects on the eyes that can range in severity from rapid eye movement to vision loss and blindness.

Alcohol Consumption and Blurred or Double Vision

The optic nerve is responsible for communication interactions between the brain and the eye. Another effect of decreased reaction times is the iris taking longer to contract, which is the process of making the pupil smaller. The pupil allows light into the eye but, if the iris doesn’t contract quickly enough when exposed to bright light, it lets far too much light into the eye. Studies show that being at the legal driving limit in terms of blood alcohol level actually reduces the eye’s ability to adjust for brightness by 30%. Too much alcohol can also decrease your contrast sensitivity, making it more difficult for you to differentiate between multiple colours and shades. The potential long-term issues relate to changes to the eyes’ structures or the communication between the eyes and brain.

Alcohol and optic neuropathy

He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness. Excessive alcohol also slows down the reaction time of the pupils, meaning they cannot dilate blurry vision after drinking alcohol and will constrict to allow in appropriate levels of light. In this situation, the ability to see colors and shades becomes impaired. Our rehab centers offer a variety of methods to ensure the most significant opportunity for a well-rounded healing experience.

Alcohol Consumption and Blurred or Double Vision

This figure includes deaths occurring directly as a result of high alcohol consumption, and also includes secondary causes such as deaths from drink driving or alcohol-related accidents. Of all the people surveyed by the Office of National Statistics about their drinking habits, nearly 1 in 10 people drank alcohol on five or more days in the week leading up to being interviewed. Further to this, the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention estimate that alcohol is responsible for 10% of deaths among working age adults. The effect of alcohol on your eyes and vision depends on many factors, including how much, how often and even what you drink. It can have both short- and long-term visual effects, including blurry vision, double vision and dry eye.







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