Many people have had a few blurry evenings after one too many beverages, but drinking in large quantities can have a huge impact on many aspects of your life, including your eyesight.
Drinking alcohol is a part of life for many. Around 60% of adults in the UK alone enjoy a drink at least once a week, while binge drinking is commonplace around many parts of the world, to the point where alcoholism is becoming a large-scale problem.
The number of people entering rehab centres with alcoholism is at an all-time high, and while the vast majority of people know the harm the substance can have on the likes of our liver, heart and overall health, it’s less known what can happen to our vision.
Of course, the short term effect, we may well know and many will have experienced, with double vision and blurred vision common following heavy periods of drinking. This is down to alcohol weakening the coordination between our brain and eye muscles.
This affects reaction times, hence why there is a limit on the amount of alcohol that can be drunk before driving, with the iris also taking longer to contract after periods of drinking.
Another short term side effect is the condition myokymia, which sees the eyelids twitch uncontrollably. It does wear off after a while, and is also common following high amounts of caffeine or stress.
Longer term though, few of us realise just what alcohol can do to the eyesight. While excessive drinking over a long period of time will lead to all manner of health problems, you may also find that your peripheral vision is limited, with alcohol affecting the edge of your visual field and eventually leading to tunnel vision which can make many tasks we take for granted incredibly difficult.
Dry eye disease can also develop, and while it can happen as a short term effect and eventually recover following a period of drinking, chronic dry eye can also develop as a result of dry eye, leading to lasting discomfort and blurred vision.
What’s more, the chances of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration also increase, with many heavy drinkers contracting the former at an age much earlier than mid-50s, when most adults typically start to develop the issue.
Vision is something many of us take for granted, and it’s well worth being aware of the risk to it that comes with regular heavy drinking and alcoholism, on top of the many other issues the body may develop because of it.