People who drink too much alcohol know the effect it gives to eyesight which is a blurry and distorted vision. It is known that drinking alcohol affects the body even if it is just a few drinks or if you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder.
Some people are not aware of what alcohol does to our eyes. The only thing that people know is alcohol gives you blurry vision. The real question is if alcohol abuse can cause permanent problems to our eyesight?
There can be short-term vision-altering effects and long-term damage. If you have experienced a blurry and distorted vision after drinking, you are aware that it will resolve on its own and it is under a short-term vision-altering effect. Make sure to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor if you think that you are suffering from long-term effects.
What Are the Short-term Vision-altering Effects?
- Alcohol can make the iris constrict and dilate at a slower speed which gives you a slower pupil reaction. It is not recommended for you to drive after drinking because you are not able to adapt quickly to the headlights.
- You have a decreased contrast sensitivity which is also an important ability when you are driving. There is a study from Western University in Ontario, Canada that showed alcohol reduces how the eye adjusts vision for brightness and contrast by 30 percent.
- Eye twitching or myokymia can be triggered if you drink alcohol excessively.
- There is a study from Hallym University College of Medicine that suggested consuming alcohol can increase and worsen the symptoms of a dry eye even if you only drank a small amount of alcohol.
What Is the Long-term Damage of Alcohol to Eyes?
- Multiple studies showed there is an increased cataract formation in patients who have higher alcohol consumption.
- There is an increased risk of AMD. The American Optometric Association included excessive alcohol intake as a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration.
- The vision is decreased due to vitamin deficiency. We are aware that vitamins are needed to maintain healthy eyesight. If you are drinking heavily, the absorption of vitamins in the liver is affected. Weakness or paralysis of eye muscles can be due to vitamin B-1 deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency can occur due to alcoholism which can cause night blindness, thinning of the cornea, and corneal perforation, and retinal damage that can cause blindness.
- People who excessively drink can develop optic neuropathy that can result in a painless loss of vision.
- The eyesight of the baby can be affected with excessive exposure to alcohol in the womb. Underdevelopment of optic nerve, difficulty with eye coordination, and a tendency for droopy eyelids can occur with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as reviewed by the Emory University School of Medicine.