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Alcohol And Eye: Its Impact On Your Eye Health

Today's story is about alcohol and eye.

We all know of someone who loves alcohol.

Many thought of alcohol as a relaxant stimulant and good tools to deepen relationship....Though in this video, some younger generations are taking them a little bit to the extreme.

Of course, there are great stories between alcohol and health. One well-known phenomenon is the French Paradox.

Despite eating inexcusable amounts of artery-clogging saturated fats, smoking huge amounts of cigarette that is enough to smoke out a jungle, and exercising very little, the French have one of the lowest heart attack rates in the world.

The reason?

Moderate and daily consumption of red wine.This phenomenon unleashed a red wine mania.

Let’s presume this phenomenon to be true rather than some marketing gimmick of the wine industry and dissect the information given.

What about moderation?

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend up to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. That is around 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) of wine.

However, many had forgotten that alcohol is actually a depressant that acts on the brain and central nervous system, causing a range of side effects including impaired vision.


This time, let’s us learn more about this intimate relationship between alcohol and eye.


Alcohol And Eye Functions

We all know that alcohol impacts the brain, depressing its functions. It slows down your ability to think quickly and inhibits your ability to react and increases response time.

No wonder why there are so many laws against drinking and driving. In Singapore, you can get jailed up to 6 months if you are caught drink driving for first time offenders.

Tough law? Considering the number of lives at stake, I actually find it too lenient. The mantra here is, "If you drink, don't drive."

Other than making you reacting like dazed rabbit, alcohol has other negative effects such as affecting your eye functions.


Decreased Visual Performance

As alcohol impairs the brain function greatly, your overall visual performance can be affected.

You may experience double vision or blurred vision due to the limited coordination of the eye muscles from the effect of alcohol on brain. 

You may also experience delayed reactions while driving.


Depth Perception Problem
As alcohol affects the eye muscles which control your eye movements, it becomes increasingly difficult for both eyes to focus on the same object.

This causes problem in your ability to judge distance and depth.


Decreased Contrast Sensitivity
Contrasts between shades of grey are more difficult to discern when one is under the influence of alcohol.

It may not sound like a big deal but at night or when there are fogs, this ability to discern the shades can be a matter of life or death.


Decreased Visual Acuity
Visual acuity is a measure of the sharpness of vision.

According to the University of Texas at San Antonio Police Department, visual acuity can be reduced by up to 32 percent through consumption of alcohol.

Probably the reason why one will mistake Steven Tyler for Liv Tyler and try to coo him to bed together. 

Fierce.


Decreased Peripheral Vision
Your peripheral vision is the portion of sight that lies outside your central gaze.

It helps you to detect what is going on in your surrounding outside the direct line of vision.

One of the adverse effect of alcohol is that it decreases your peripheral vision. This causes tunnel vision and is especially dangerous if you are driving.


Dry Eyes
A recent study conducted by the Hallym University College of Medicine has confirmed that drinking alcohol can directly disturb the ocular surface.

The findings indicated that alcohol induced tear hyperosmolarity and a significantly shortened tear breakup time in all of the men who drank it. In many cases, both hyperosmolarity and shortened tear breakup time can result in dry eyes.


Frequent Migraines
Do you have migraines frequently?

If you don’t and like to experience it, drinking alcohol can offer that opportunity.

These migraines are often characterized by visual disturbances such as graying of vision, zig-zap light patterns or blind spots.


Slowed Pupil Reactions
Alcohol hampers the speed at which your iris (colored part of the eye) contracts and dilates.

This means that the eyes are unable to react quickly enough to compensate for the differing light levels and causing temporary blindness.

When driving, the oncoming headlights of a car will dazzle a driver who drinks more easily.


Alcohol And Eye's Appearance

Ever notice how bloodshot your eyes look after a night of drinking? 

This is the direct result of alcohol. Alcohol dilates the small veins in the eyes causing them to leak easily.

It also makes the blood vessels in  your eyes to expand making them more prominent.

Another common reported cosmetic effect is yellowing of the white of the eye.

Long term alcohol abuse compromises the well-being of your liver.

This effect is shown by the yellowing of the whites in your eyes.


Alcohol And Eye Diseases

Other than the short term effects which I had listed so far, heavy drinking in long run can create serious damage to your eye health also.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
When mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy, they are exposing their unborn babies to a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

When infants are affected by fetal alcohol syndrome, they are noticed to have problems which include physical deformities, mental retardation, learning disorders, vision difficulties and behavioral problems.

This condition is common but preventable.

Yet many pregnant women do drink alcohol. It's estimated that each year in the United States, 1 in every 750 infants is born with FAS,

It is unclear about how much alcohol is constituted as too much during pregnancy.

If you really care about your child, a safe bet will be to avoid alcohol totally during those 10 months of prenatal period.


Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders associated with eye pressure (intraocular pressure). High eye pressure can potentially damage the optic nerve, resulting in permanent vision loss.

Two studies had been published by in 1996 and 1997, claiming that alcohol raises intraocular pressure in the eye which in turn can induce glaucoma.


Optic Neuropathy
Similar to smokers, excessive drinkers can also develop optic neuropathy.

Optic neuropathy, also referred as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia, is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged.

Through the process, you might develop a painless loss of vision, decreased peripheral vision, lower sensitivity to contrast or reduced color vision.

Even though studies have shown the vision loss to be a result of a nutritional deficiency, some professionals believe that the condition develops because of toxic effects of alcohol and tobacco.


Afterword About Alcohol And Eye

It is clear that alcohol affects your eyes in many ways.

Other than aesthetically ugly , it can cause permanent blindness too. Sometimes, it can even get you killed.

Pour those booze into the sink and try to reduce your alcohol consumption. 

If you are an alcoholic and wishes to change, try this step-by-step help. Helps are available when you seek. Ask for family support or join Alcoholics Anonymous. They are your pillar of change when you feel that you can't go on any longer.


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