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Reasons to See Your Eye Doctor ASAP

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Eyes?

 

Drinking alcohol can of cause effects to your entire body including your eyes. A low intake of alcohol shouldn’t cause you any health problems but drinking alcohol heavily can potentially cause health problems including harmful effects to your eyes.

 
Here are a few of the effects heavy drinking can have on your eye health.

 
Pupils
Alcohol can cause slow pupil reactions. It slows down the iris’ ability to dilate and constrict. This might not seem to be too much of a problem at first but if you have been drinking alcohol, even a small amount, and then drive your pupils won’t react as quickly to oncoming car headlights, therefore dazzling your vision which could cause an accident. So even if you have drunk alcohol and it is under the legal limit for driving and you feel fine to drive, think again about the other effects the alcohol is having on your vision.

 
Vision
Drinking alcohol can not only affect your pupils but also your general visual performance, especially if you have been drinking heavily. The alcohol can weaken the eye muscles which can cause blurred or double vision and also can cause delayed reactions.

 
Peripheral Vision
Not only can your general vision be affected after heavy alcohol consumption but your peripheral vision can change. Alcohol can sometimes lower your peripheral vision sensitivity and this can give the sensation of tunnel vision.

 
Contrast Sensitivity
Another way alcohol can affect your eyes is by making them less contrast sensitive. This means it can be harder to tell the difference between shade of grey.

 
Eye Lid Twitching
Eye lid twitching can be caused by many factors and one of these is a high intake of alcohol. If you suffer with eye lid twitching and drink heavily, try to lower your alcohol intake and see if your eye lid twitching improves.

 
Eye Dryness
A study carried out by the Hallym University College of Medicine indicated that drinking alcohol, even a small amount, reduced tear breakup time and induced tear hyperosmolarity which in turn can result in eye dryness.

 
Optic Neuropathy
Optic neuropathy can also be caused by consuming alcohol in excessive amounts. It can cause loss of vision which is normally painless, lowered peripheral vision, and issues with seeing and distinguishing colours. This is an ongoing condition which gets worse as time passes and is much more serious that the ones mentioned above. If you suspect you may have optic neuropathy or any eye concerns relating to alcohol consumption you should get an appointment with an ophthalmologist, who can carry out a thorough eye exam.

 
Eye Appearance
Apart from the effects alcohol can have on how your eyes work, it can also alter the appearance of your eyes. Drinking alcohol can make the blood vessels in your eyes dilate which makes them look very red, and long term heavy drinking could cause this to be a lasting effect.

 
Migraines
It has been shown that, in some people, alcohol can start off migraines or severe headaches. If this happens you can initially suffer with a visual aura at the start of the migraine or headache, which is temporary but can be visually debilitating causing blind spots or light patterns in your vision.

 
Author: Samer Hamada is a distinguished consultant ophthalmologist and cornea surgeon performing eye surgeries at his practice, Eye Clinic London. With nearly two decades’ experience, Mr. Hamada is recognised as a leading expert in the field of cataract, refractive lens exchange (RLE) and corneal surgeries.

 
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