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Alcohol And Eyes: How Does Alcohol Effect Your Eye?

Today's story is about alcohol and eyes.

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 how does alcohol affect the eyes.

Alcohol Effects On Eyes

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

Decreased Visual PerformanceDouble Doubles

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 muscles around the eyes 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

Decreased Contrast SensitivityRecipe For Disaster

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

Normal Visual AcuityNormal 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. 


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 alcohol effects on eyes 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

MigrainesNo Loud Noise Please!

Do you have migraines frequently?

If you do, drinking alcohol might be the reason that you are having them.

Any type of alcohol causes dehydration, which is a major cause of headaches.

Tyramine, which is found many alcoholic beverages, is also well known for triggering headache.

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

Bloodshot eyes from drinkingBloodshot Eyes From Drinking

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 cause serious damages to your eye health.

Worst of all, you won't be the only one who suffers from it.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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 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.

How To Avoid Alcohol Related Eye Problems

The best way to avoid is of course stop drinking those booze totally.

However, if you have to drink due to work nature or for social purposes, here are some tips which can help you to avoid the consequences.

  • Know and monitor your limit vigorously
  • Limit to one drink per hour
  • Never drink on empty stomach
  • Drink water in between alcoholic slip to prevent getting drunk
  • Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. It can also help flushing your body clean.

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.

Other Effects Of Alcohol On Eye?

Know of other side effects which alcohol have on our eyes? Share it with us! We will love to hear from you.

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GEORGE B Not rated yet
after my cataract syrgery,both eyes, my vision was 20/30 a few months later it was 20/40 and not as sharp and clear. One night I noticed that after drinking …

Vision acuity sharp after 8oz wine but reflex’s and reactinn diminishes.  Not rated yet
Weird reactions to alcohol. Vision clarit enhanced reflex and response diminished.

Question about "Bloodshot eyes from drinking" photo Not rated yet
Hey, I was actually trying to research an odd eye condition I've been experiencing where I have white clumps build up and impair my vision. I came …

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