Alcohol and eyesight are connected, and even light alcohol consumption can impair the eyes and affect vision. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes water from the body by making you urinate frequently. In the short term, this can have a dehydrating effect, leaving the eyes dry and irritated.

In extreme cases, toxic amblyopia, the result of a toxic reaction in the optic nerve which causes permanent vision loss. One of the most vision-threatening effects of long-term alcohol consumption is optic neuropathy or optic atrophy. This condition can also be referred to as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia, caused by people who drink or smoke excessively. It results in a painless loss of vision, decreased peripheral vision, and reduced color vision. Long-term heavy drinking can weaken the muscles in the eyes over time, often permanently damaging the optic nerves.

Alcohol Amblyopia, Permanent Blindness

Your overall visual performance may be altered since drinking heavily impairs brain function. Your vision relies on a few different functions that your brain and eyes carry out, and alcohol impairs more than one of these functions. These are short-term effects that can begin while you are drinking, and can last for several hours afterward. Long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to heart problems, hypertension, organ damage, and even cancer.

As a result, vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to weakness or paralysis of the eye muscles. Other effects of drinking alcohol regularly can result in dry eyes and eyelid twitching, known as myokymia. This triggers short-term inflammation and double vision that causes burning and itching of the eyes, migraines, and sensitivity to light. Long-term symptoms of this effect may cause the blood vessels in your eyes to grow, making your eyes often appear red and bloodshot. Also referred to as optic neuropathy, alcohol amblyopia is one of the more severe ways alcohol affects your eyes. It refers to permanent blindness or loss of vision, decreased peripheral vision, or reduced ability to see color.

Blurry Vision or Double Vision

This may also give you the effect or perception of having tunnel vision.

effects of alcohol on vision

The main symptom is blind spots in your vision that gradually get bigger. Eventually, they will lead to total blindness that cannot be reversed. Rest assured that at Heroes’ Mile in Florida, we’ve got your six, and you do not have to deal with addiction alone. Find out why Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute is the name more Tampa Bay residents have trusted with their eye care since 1981. You can receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience.

Complete Eye Care

Researchers in Australia found that consuming alcohol at their legal limit of 0.05% greatly affected the ability to visually adjust for brightness and contrast. The perception of contrast was reduced by 30% at the legal blood alcohol level. The goal of treatment is to help prevent AMD progression while also preserving your central vision. The same study also noted alcohol’s possible link with geographic atrophy. This refers to an irreversible deterioration of the delicate tissues beneath the retina in the eye that’s part of late stage AMD that leads to permanent vision loss.

Research suggests that drinking moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol may increase the risk of AMD development and progression. Bloodshot eyes, or red eyes, can indicate many things; allergies, infections or lack of sleep. This happens when the blood vessels in the eye become irritated and enlarged. In fact, we experience rapid eye movements at night during our REM cycle of sleep. Rapid eye movements while awake, however, are a rare and unusual occurrence.

Pregnant women who continue to use alcohol are at risk of damaging the health of their fetus. For example, alcohol exposure can permanently damage the eyesight of the baby in the womb. Drinking alcohol can also increase a person’s chance of developing cataracts, AMD, and Optic neuropathy. Alcohol abuse also hinders the liver’s ability to absorb essential vitamins, leading to dryness, night blindness, corneal perforation, and other eye-relation problems.

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