Does Drinking Alcohol Contribute to Vision Issues?

If you’ve ever had your pupils dilated and then walked outside without sunglasses on, then you may understand how uncomfortable this can be. Some Problems From Heavy Drinking
Double and distorted vision can occur from information that is slowed down between the eye and the brain. Decreasing the reaction time for the pupils to dilate, alcohol can impair the ability to see different color shades or adjust to lighting differences. There may be an association between increased alcohol consumption and geographic atrophy, a form of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, simply reducing alcohol intake may not be enough to prevent geographic atrophy. One or both of your eyes may twitch during or after drinking alcohol.

According to the present medical literature, along with harmful effects on many other organs of the body, alcohol consumption may damage ocular tissues, from the cornea and conjunctiva to the retina and optic nerve. Among them, alcohol teratogenicity and alcohol-related optic neuropathies are more definite and seem to be the most serious ocular conditions related to alcohol consumption [Table 3]. Occasionally drinking moderate amounts of alcohol doesn’t usually cause any health problems. But if you are a heavy drinker—which means consuming alcohol more than a few times per week or binge drinking—you will likely experience health issues as a result. It is hard to predict whether you will develop effects that harm your liver, heart, nerves, or eyes, and you can experience a combination of these. If you drink excessively, be sure to see a healthcare professional so you can get help cutting down before the effects on your health get worse.

Ways Alcohol Affects The Eyes

Alcohol in this particular case acts in a curious way, possessing both vasodilator and vasoconstrictor (the opposite) related effects depending on the individual’s own tolerance and how much alcohol they have consumed within a certain period of time. It leads to difficulties with activities that need to be alcohol blurry vision performed while looking straight ahead, such as driving, sewing and reading. This disease affects the macula, which is the part of the eye that allows you to see things in detail. It’s why people who have had a stressful day might tell themselves that they would like to have a drink to help them unwind.

Heavy drinking also depletes the body’s reserve of nutrients needed for eye health, which can lead to a condition known as alcoholic optic neuritis. In addition, it may have a toxic effect, which can lead to the development of conditions that impair vision. Several other health issues can also result from long-term heavy drinking.

How to Fix Puffy Eyes from Alcohol

Studies have shown that vision loss can be a result of a nutritional deficiency, and some professionals believe that the condition develops because of the toxic effects of alcohol and tobacco. The effect of alcohol on your eyes and vision depends on many factors, including how much, how often and even what you drink. It can have both short- and long-term visual effects, including blurry vision, double vision and dry eye. Alcoholic hepatitis is a serious health condition and can be life-threatening.

eyes after drinking alcohol

The more alcohol the subjects drank, the worse their vision became under low-light conditions. They saw halos and starbursts, had difficulty seeing contrast, and experienced longer recovery time after a bright light was shined in their eyes. One study found that having a 0.08% blood alcohol level (the legal limit for driving in most states) can affect various types of eye movements in healthy young adults. The presence of a specific type of nystagmus (rhythmic involuntary eye movements) can actually help police decide whether to arrest a driver for drinking and driving. A large study investigating the effect of alcohol on dry eye disease found that women have a significantly higher risk of experiencing dry eye symptoms after alcohol use as compared with men.

Vision Issues from Excessive Alcohol Consumption

The longer you avoid getting help for alcoholism, the more likely you are to suffer physically and mentally. Long-term heavy drinking can weaken the muscles in the eyes over time, often permanently damaging the optic nerves. Optic nerves are sensory nerves that carry information to the brain. They tell the brain what we’re looking at so the brain can interpret it. When the muscles that support optic nerves weaken as a result of heavy drinking, it inhibits their ability to communicate with the brain, which can lead to several other issues with vision.

eyes after drinking alcohol

Mild liver damage that progresses to alcoholic hepatitis can be reversed with the right dietary changes, an alcohol recovery program, and abstaining from alcohol abuse. Continuing to drink a large amount of alcohol will likely lead to a more severe case of alcoholic hepatitis. Drinking too much alcohol for extended periods can also lead to liver damage and kidney disease. You should always talk to a medical professional, such as your healthcare provider, if you have concerns about your drinking.


Drinking alcohol and continuing alcohol abuse isn’t recommended if you suffer from the condition. Professional treatment is often required to get back on track and recover from the effects of alcohol. If binge drinking or heavy drinking is a cause of concern, we can help. Jaundice and the other symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis can be frightening. However, if alcoholic liver disease is diagnosed early and hasn’t progressed to cirrhosis and the final stage of alcoholic liver disease, the damage may be reversible. By abstaining from drinking alcohol and making dietary changes, the liver can begin to repair itself.

  • A doctor can provide more details about what a person can do to address their vision issues.
  • Our addiction professionals are with you at every step, and you’ll have the opportunity to attend group therapy sessions with others in your situation.
  • It results in a painless loss of vision, decreased peripheral vision, and reduced color vision.
  • This condition can also be referred to as tobacco-alcohol amblyopia, caused by people who drink or smoke excessively.

Even small changes can help reduce a person’s risk of developing issues with their eyes or other aspects of health. Long-term heavy drinking can cause interference between the brain and the eyes. It may also damage or speed up the aging of various structures inside the eye, such as the lens, retina, and optic nerve. Using alcohol over an extended period of time can hurt the muscles in your eyes, and that’s not all. Alcohol weakens the muscles of the eyes and can permanently damage the optic nerve which transmits visual images to the brain. Like double vision, if the bloodshot eyes do not revert back to normal after a night of drinking, then it could be more serious and require medical attention.

Eye twitching and drinking

This condition is where your eyes move involuntarily back and forth. On the other hand, some people may experience a sort of paralysis of the eyes, due to a lack of necessary vitamins brought on by excessive drinking. We all know alcohol can affect our bodies negatively, and these effects can be both short- and long-term. We are told to never drink and drive when we are in grade school. We’ve also seen the havoc too much alcohol can wreak on our liver later in life, if we aren’t careful.

When a person’s pupils don’t dilate as quickly as they normally would, their eyes may twitch or move rapidly in an attempt to focus. Not only can this cause discomfort, but it can also lead to tunnel vision, which inhibits a person’s peripheral vision and leaves them more vulnerable to accidents or injury. 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.

Dry eyes and drinking

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate information throughout the brain and the body. The delay in sending those messages means that the person’s eye muscle coordination becomes sluggish. At this point, the person experiences double vision or blurred vision. A person may reduce their risk of developing vision issues due to alcohol by limiting their alcohol consumption.

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