April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Part of our job as healthcare providers is to help educate our patients about their vision health. Read on for more information on how alcohol affects your eyes, over the short- and long-term.
How Alcohol Affects Your Eyes: Short-Term
Everyone has had one of those weeks where nothing goes right. All you can think about it making it to Friday, so you can head to happy hour. However, it’s important to not throw caution to the wind when winding down with a few drinks. In addition to other side effects such as slurred speech, reduced reaction time, and lowered inhibitions, alcohol can impact your vision, too. Short-term effects of drinking too much can include blurry vision and disorientation. Keep in mind that the more you drink, the more likely these side effects will occur.
How Alcohol Affects Your Eyes: Long-Term
For heavy drinkers, the vision side effects of alcohol are amplified. The liver acts as the body’s filter for toxics. Over periods of heavy alcohol intake, the liver function is reduced. Alcohol prevents the liver from absorbing vitamins needed for healthy eyesight, including vitamins A and B-1.
Vitamin A helps with a whole host of health benefits. When the body stops absorbing it properly, your eyes are impacted. Symptoms include corneal thinning and tearing, night blindness (being unable to see in dark lighting), and possibly blindness.
Healthy muscle function is one of the benefits of Vitamin B-1. When the body stops absorbing this essential vitamin, the muscles surrounding the eyes become weakened. In some cases over long periods of use, it can even cause paralysis.
As we previously discussed, age-related macular degeneration (or AMD) is an incurable disease, which can lead to blindness. The American Optometric Association has identified heavy alcohol use as a risk factor for AMD.
EyeLASIK Midland wants to encourage you to drink responsibly. Although an occasional beverage is enjoyable, be sure to find alternative ways to de-stress or have fun without overindulging.