Alcohol and Your Eyesight: 4 Ways Excessive Drinking Can Affect Your Vision



There's nothing like a glass of Chianti with your favorite pasta dish or a cold draft beer while watching a sporting event. A glass of wine, beer or cocktail will not have any lasting negative effects on your health or vision, but occasional drinking can slowly grow into a habit without even realizing it. Besides the harmful damage that alcohol can do to your body systems, excessive drinking can cause permanent eye damage.

Heavy drinking and vision problems often go hand in hand, so let's explore how alcohol abuse impacts your eyes.

  1. Muscle weakness. Alcohol weakens the muscles of the eyes and can permanently damage the optic nerve which transmits visual images to the brain. Prolonged alcohol use can cause involuntary rapid eye movement.
  2. Neurological disruptions. Alcohol slows down the communication between the eyes and the brain. This can cause double vision, decrease reaction time of pupils and impair the ability to see color shades.
  3. Unsightly appearance. Bloodshot eyes is one of the most common physical characteristics of a heavy drinker. Alcohol dilates ocular blood vessels, which makes them look larger and gives the eyes a reddish color.
  4. Sharp pain. Alcohol can make the eyes extremely sensitive to light and cause migraine headaches.

Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation without any adverse effects to the eyesight. It is important to remember that your body's tolerance of alcohol may be vastly different than someone else's. As a general rule of thumb, men should consume no more than 4 units of alcohol in one day and women should consume no more than 3 units of alcohol per day. It is healthiest for your body and your eyes to reserve alcohol for special occasions, holidays and celebrations (Source: Medical Daily).