If you have ever had too much too much to drink, then you may know that too much alcohol can temporarily cause distorted and blurred vision. If alcohol can affect our bodies negatively, both short and long term, what exactly can it do to our eye health?
Alcohol and Eye Health
Having an alcoholic drink every once and awhile will not cause any serious damages to your eyes. Depending on how much alcohol you consume, you may experience temporary effects like dizziness and blurred vision. However, any effects you feel while drinking will most likely go away within a short amount of time.
On the other hand, if you are a heavy drinker, or drink often, you are at a much higher risk for both short term and permanent damages. Additionally, you may already know that heavy drinking can end up leading to some serious liver problems; and surprisingly, the liver and eyes are very closely related. Let’s take a look at some of the short and long term effects and damages that alcohol can have on your eye health:
Short term effects
- Dryness – Studies have suggested that even a little amount of alcohol can increase and intensify dry eyes
- Twitching Eyes – excessive alcohol intake can cause eye twitching or myokymia.
- Slow Pupil Reaction – consuming alcohol can cause your eye’s iris to dilate much slower than normal. This can lead to tunnel vision as the pupils may not open up as well as they normally would.
- Damaged Contrast – Too much alcohol can impair your ability to make distinctions between different objects based on how light or dark they are. You may have trouble distinguishing different shades of similar colors which can be dangerous, especially when driving.
- Migraines – Possibly accompanied by sensitivity to light and other related vision problem, migraines can be caused by drinking too much.
- Rapid Eye Movement – While alcohol may help people fall asleep quicker, it increases non-REM sleep and decreases REM sleep.
Long term effects
- Optic neuropathy – A more serious condition, optic neuropathy can cause loss of vision, which is usually painless. In addition, the disorder can decrease peripheral vision and cause difficulty seeing colors.
- Vitamin Deficiency -heavy amounts of drinking can affect the liver’s intake of vitamins that are needed to maintain a healthy eyesight.
- Prenatal Alcohol Exposure – Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol increases the risk of permanently affecting the eyesight of the baby.
- Cataract Formation – Multiple studies have shown increased cataract formation in those with higher alcohol consumption levels compared to those who have a little or no alcohol consumption.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration – Heavy or excessive drinking could cause oxidative damage to the retina, potentially leading to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Other Alcohol Effects of the Eyes
Even if you only have a few drinks, your eyes do not function as they normally would while sober. Depending on your tolerance, even one drink could cause you to get dizzy or blurry vision, or cause you to see doubles or spots flash across your eyes. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so it is always a good idea to be cautious. Some people believe that drinking alcohol can reduce some of the antioxidants — especially the ones that protect against eye diseases — in your system, potentially putting you at a higher risk of developing an eye disease.
Avoiding Alcohol-Related Damages
If you’re worried about alcohol affecting your eyes, you do not need to give it up completely. Drinking from time to time is not likely to cause any major damage to your eyesight. However, if you are someone who is a heavy drinker, or have been one in the past, you could be at a much higher risk of alcohol-related eye damages. Consider practicing good habits while drinking, like pacing yourself and never consuming alcohol on an empty stomach. Drinking water between alcoholic beverages and knowing your limit can be very helpful to not only your eye’s health but your overall health as well.
You can also reduce the risk of getting AMD and other eye disorders by consuming foods for eye health. At Guardion Health Services, we are very passionate about eye health, which is why we offer our revolutionary medical food; Lumega-Z! Lumega-Z is a vision-specific medical food created to restore and maintain the eyes macular protective pigment. To learn more about how Lumega-Z can protect your eyes from AMD and other vision disorders, contact Guardion Health Sciences today!