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How Does Alcohol Affect the Health of the Eyes

How Does Alcohol Affect the Health of the Eyes

It is a known fact that alcohol drastically affects the vision. Not only it leads to blurred vision but also has a long-term effect on the eyesight resulting in a permanent loss of vision i.e. toxic amblyopia. Here are a few pointers that will through some light on the adverse effect of alcohol on the vision.

  1. Decreased Visual Performance: Not only it leads to decreased visual performance because of blurred/ double vision, it lowers the eye-muscle coordination.
  2. Slower Pupil Reaction: The first and foremost effect of alcohol on the eye is a slower pupil reaction. As a result, the iris constricts and dilate in a much slower speed. This is the only reason why drunken driving should be prohibited as it becomes difficult for a drunk driver to concentrate on the oncoming headlights and hence, might result in an accident.
  3. Lowered Contrast Sensitivity: Due to the effect of alcohol, it becomes difficult for the eyes to distinguish between different objects in terms of lightness and contrast. Due to this driving in the evening becomes really difficult.
  4. Myokymia: Excessive intake of alcohol may lead to eyelid twitching, a condition term as Myokymia.
  5. Decreased Peripheral Vision: Due to peripheral vision, the person may have a perception of a tunnel vision.
  6. Dry Eyes: Alcohol may lead to the problem of dry eyes exhibiting symptoms like stinging or burning sensation, discharge from the eye, heavy eyelids, sandy or gritty feeling in the eye etc.
  7. Optic Neuropathy: This condition is also referred to as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia and it emerges in people who consume alcohol and tobacco in excess. Symptoms like reduced color vision, decreased peripheral vision and painless loss of vision etc. are some alarming signs that alcohol is negatively affecting your eyes.
  8. Frequent Migraines:Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to frequent migraines and hence, it is difficult for a person to focus on direct light. General headaches and blind spots, greying of vision, zig-zag patterns are other ill-effects of alcohol.
  9. Red Eyes: Due to swelling of blood vessels in the eyes, the eyes may constantly appear red and swollen.
  10. Rapid Eye Movement:One of the common symptoms, rapid eye movement restricts a person to concentrate on anything.

Apart from these short-term effects, the person may develop cataract and are at high risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Alcohol affects the absorption of vitamins in the body, putting the person at a risk of issues like night blindness, retinal damage, corneal perforation etc.

Recommendations

In order to save yourself from the harsh effects of alcohol on eyes, it is recommended to-

  • Limit yourself! Stick to one alcoholic beverage per hour.
  • Always avoid drinking on an empty stomach
  • Drink plenty of water in between to reduce intoxication.
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