How Alcohol Affects the Eye

Published On: October 30, 2015

A study after study confirms that alcoholism may trigger permanent loss of eyesight.

In this post, we explore how alcoholism affects the human eye and steps you can take to ensure you do not suffer loss of eyesight as a result of your drinking. If you believe heavy drinking is only capable of causing short-term dizziness and blurry vision then please think again! By the time you have completed reading this post you will have gained a better understanding of how alcohol negatively affects the eye.

Many drinkers will relate to experiencing ‘blurred vision’ following a heavy drinking session.

Because alcohol is a toxin, it is capable of damaging your body’s cells, no matter where they are located. The eye is no exception to the rule. Alcohol is capable of permanently impairing your vision.

Fortunately, only those affected by chronic alcoholism are likely to suffer permanent eyesight damage as a result of their drinking. However, research does indicate heavy binge drinking is capable of damaging optical nerves that are designed to transport vision from the eyes and up into the brain. Scientifically this condition is known as toxic amblyopia. Many people with this condition live each day of their lives with permanently blurred vision. Sufferers of toxic amblyopia are slow to respond to dangers and are much more likely to injure themselves during a fall.

Heavy drinkers, particularly chronic alcoholics risk a decline in their eyesight as a result of optic nerve damage.

Furthermore, alcohol stimulates an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA-A. This neurotransmitter slows down nerve cells in the brain. Researchers believe this also weakens muscles in the eyes, leading to distorted vision. This also impairs your ability to differentiate between different colours.

Other ways alcohol consumption may damage your eye

Below we list how alcohol consumption may damage your eye:

  • Increase risk of cataract development
  • Impaired eyesight due to vitamin A and B deficiency
  • Alcohol affects the eyesight of unborn children caused by their mother’s drinking

Maintaining healthy vision

In order to protect your vision, it is essential you drink within the Government’s guidelines of no more than three-or-four units per day for a man or no more than two-or-three units per day for women.

If you suffer from alcoholism then we recommend you receive a free eye examination through your local NHS primary care trust.

In order to treat your alcoholism, we offer a comprehensive alcohol rehab and detox service at an affordable price. We offer this service throughout the United Kingdom.

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