Alcoholic Eyes | How Alcohol Abuse Affects Your Eyes
Drinking alcohol poses numerous health risks, including risks to your eye health. You might not realize it, but alcohol use, especially heavy drinking, may cause potential problems for your eyes and eyesight.
Alcoholism affects the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause impairment of motor, cognitive, and perceptual skills. This means that the effects of alcohol may lead to a number of issues with your eyes and eye movement.
Here are five of the ways alcohol abuse can cause both short-term effects and long-term effects on your eyes.
1. Blurred Vision
Also referred to as double vision, blurred vision can cause numerous problems. Those who partake in excessive drinking or binge drinking may develop double vision as a short-term side effect.
Unfortunately, this side effect of alcohol can become life-threatening if one chooses to get behind the wheel or engage in risky behavior. Those who consume a large amount of alcohol may have a slower reaction time which can lead to accidents including vehicle crashes, falls, and drownings.
This can be attributed to blurred vision caused by heavy alcohol intake. This type of visual disturbance can make it difficult for one to see clearly and may cause headaches and dizziness.
Tunnel vision may also occur. With it, you may notice that your peripheral vision has decreased.
2. Dry Eyes
While dry eyes may not seem like a problem, over the years it can be. The person who engages in excessive alcohol consumption may develop dry eyes since their body can’t replenish water quick enough to keep them lubricated.
Alcohol blocks the release of hormones that are used for water reabsorption. Since alcohol consumption can also cause sweating, a person may lose fluid in that manner as well.
The consumption of alcohol may cause the blood vessels in your eyes to swell. When this happens, you may develop bloodshot eyes. This can further contribute to the strain on your eyes if you’re already experiencing dryness.
3. Optic Nerve Damage
Alcohol weakens the eye muscles which can make them twitch or cause unusual movements. Your eye muscle coordination may be unstable and you may find it difficult to see. An increased risk of damage to the optic nerve can occur if you’re a heavy drinker.
If the optic nerve becomes damaged, it can cause your eyes to be unable to send messages to the brain. When this happens, blindness can occur.
Optic neuropathy may happen as well, which can lead to reduced vision or blind spots.
4. Vitamin Deficiencies
Alcohol impairs liver function and can also cause liver disease. Those who binge drink or consume large amounts of alcohol within a short time span may cause harm to their liver and develop a vitamin deficiency.
If your liver is impaired and has difficulty absorbing vitamins, this may lead to a vitamin deficiency that can make it difficult to maintain healthy eyesight. Those with a vitamin A deficiency may even develop night blindness.
5. Loss Of Vision
Heavy alcohol consumption can cause you to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition may not cause immediate vision loss, but can result in complete vision loss over time.
If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol addiction, contact us today to learn about our substance abuse treatment options.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) - Alcohol Basics
Missouri Medicine - More than Meets the Eye: Eye Color and Alcoholism
PLoS One - Effects of acute alcohol ingestion on eye movements and cognition: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study
PubMed Central - Ocular manifestations of drug and alcohol abuse
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - How to tell if your child is drinking alcohol
Questions About Treatment?
Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.
100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
We've got you covered.
Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.