Don’t let beer goggles distort the truth about alcohol

Post on 12th October 2015

Let’s start with the good news. Consuming alcohol in moderation will not have any lasting impact on your eyesight, apart from blurry vision when under the influence.

But regular binge drinking and long term alcohol abuse can lead to permanent loss of vision. Just as heavy drinking puts strain on the liver, it also effects the optic nerves that carry vision from the eyes to the brain.

Alcohol also slows the pace of communication between the body’s neurotransmitters, which carry information to the brain. The delay in communication between the brain and the eyes weakens the eye muscle coordination, leading to distorted or double vision.

Excessive drinking also decreases the reaction time of your pupils, meaning that they are unable to constrict or dilate when reacting to ambient light levels and impairs the ability to see contrasting or different shades of colours.

Other consequences of drinking too much are:

  • Sensitivity to light due to migraines
  • Red or bloodshot eyes caused by alcohol swelling the blood vessels in your eyes
  • Rapid eye movement – an involuntarily movement back and forth

You can avoid these side-effects by drinking occasionally and in moderation. Pace yourself, never drink on an empty stomach and consume plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks.

The government advises that people should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of 4% beer) and 2-3 units for women (equivalent to a 175 ml glass of wine). ‘Regularly’ means drinking alcohol every day or most days of the week.  Sticking to these guidelines will help you maintain bright, healthy eyes.

If you have any concerns about your eyesight, visit the Scrivens Opticians homepage to find your nearest branch.